James V died on December 14, 1542, soon after the Battle of Solway Moss. James did not join the field of battle, but was situated at Lochmaben. He retreated to Falkland Palace after his Scottish forces were routed by English forces under the command of Sir Thomas Wharton. James' troops were to have been led by Lord (Robert) Maxwell, but Maxwell fell ill, leaving command uncertain. Sir Oliver Sinclair de Pitcairns attempted to assume command, but allegiance was to Maxwell; the battle was lost. James died two weeks after Solway Moss, leaving his newborn daughter Mary as hier. James commented as death approached "It came wi' a lass, and it shall go wi' a lass".
Besides the English, James had difficulties with the powerful Douglas clan. Scott's most popular poem, "The Lady of the Lake", covers the feud between James V and James Douglas.