James IV and James V altered and adapted the original early medieval Falkland Castle on this site into the royal palace you see today. They hired French architects and craftsmen to recreate the Renaissance style. It was the high of fashion in its hay day and was one of Mary, Queen of Scots’ favourite places because it reminded her of the châteaux she lived in as a child.
The Stuart monarchs came here to hunt wild boar and deer, practise falconry and play tennis.
But it wasn’t all fun and games – Falkland Palace has a turbulent past. Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, a very dark character in Falkland’s history, imprisoned his nephew in Falkland Castle and starved him to death in 1402.
James V was also imprisoned here in 1528 by Archibald, 6th Earl of Douglas, until he escaped disguised as a groom. He died here 14 years later, after the Scottish defeat at the hands of the English at the Battle of Solway Moss.
The palace was partially destroyed by fire after Cromwell’s troops stayed here during his conquest of Scotland, which is why the east range is now in ruins.