James III’s policies infuriated many noble families, whilst drawing closer to him many more. His unhappy opponents won to their side the King’s son, fifteen year old Prince James, and made it known that they intended to install him as monarch. This was the motivation behind the battle on 11 June at Sauchieburn, near Stirling.
Events of the battle are not well recorded. What is known is that the King was thrown by his horse and hurt badly in the fall. It is believed that he called for a priest, and the chaplain who responded to his spiritual needs took the opportunity to finish him off with a dagger.
His body was found the next day but since his challengers claimed they only wished to bring him to terms but never endorsed killing him, his death was regarded as an accident. His son was given the crown he desired, but would wear an iron chain in self-punishment for his father’s death.