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The Scottish Crown acquired Falkland Palace from MacDuff of Fife in the 14th century. In 1402 Robert Stewart, 1st Duke of Albany imprisoned his nephew David Stewart, Duke of Rothesay, the eldest son of King Robert III of Scotland, at Falkland. The incarcerated Duke eventually died there.

Between 1501 and 1541 Kings James IV and James V of Scotland transformed the old castle into a beautiful royal palace: one of the finest Renaissance palaces in Scotland. James V, already ill, died at Falkland in December 1542 after hearing that his wife had given birth to a daughter, Mary Queen of Scots.

Falkland became a popular retreat with all the Stewart monarchs. They practised falconry there and used the vast surrounding forests for hawking and for hunting deer and wild boar.

 After the Union of the Crowns, James VI and I, Charles I, and Charles II all visited Falkland. Cromwell's invading army set the palace on fire and it quickly fell into ruin. In 1887 John Crichton Stuart, 3rd Marquees of Bute started the restoration of the palace.

The Crichton-Stuarts, the Keepers of Falkland Palace, at the time headed by the 5th Marquees of Bute made a decision in the early 1950s, he appointed the National Trust for Scotland in 1952 to take care of the Palace, although it is still owned by the current Marquees of Bute (7th).

Falkland Palace has been in the keepership of the Crichton Stuart family since its acquisition by the 3rd Marquess of Bute in 1887. In 1952 the National Trust for Scotland was appointed Deputy Keeper of the Palace, and they now care for and maintain the Palace and its extensive gardens.

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