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- "These are very secret thoughts that I now commit to these pages, but I must write them out, for indeed they have been haunting me since I last wrote in my diary. Until that moment when I wrote those words, wondering what it would be like to be of simple birth, I had never contemplated a notion of marriage for reasons other than those of state and politics and power and kingdoms."
- —Mary, Queen of Scots
Mary, Queen of Scots (December 8, 1542 – February 8, 1587), also known as Mary Stuart, was the ruler of Scotland, after her father James V. Her mother, also named Mary, was from the powerful de Guise family of France. At a young age, Mary was betrothed to the future King of France, Francis.
Mary was born on December 8, 1542 to James V, the King of Scotland, and Mary de Guise, a French noblewoman. She was related to the Tudor family through her father, whose mother, Margaret Tudor was the sister of Henry VIII of England.
At six days old, she became Queen of Scots upon the death of her father. Lord Arran, Duke of Châtellerault was appointed as Regent to rule in Mary's place. Before the age of five, Mary was betrothed to the future King of France, Francis, and sent to learn the ways of the French court.
1553 – 1554
In December 1553, Mary was still living with the French royal family, including King Henry II and Queen Catherine de Medici. Mary missed her mother, whom she had not seen for three years. Nevertheless, Mary was happy with her friends, particularly the Four Marys, Mary Beaton, Mary Fleming, Mary Seton, and Mary Livingston, her beloved ladies-in-waiting. She was also allowed to have her own household, which also gave Mary her own domestic staff.
Later, Mary and the French royal children, Francis, Elizabeth and Claude, visited Diane de Poitiers at her home in Anet. Diane was beloved by the children, especially Mary, who saw her as a mother figure. After returning to court, the Queen's astrologer, Nostradamus made a prediction about Mary, which troubled her at first until she discussed it with Nostradamus. In February, Mary had a bad reaction to a white paste used to cover her freckles. The same month, Mary Beaton nearly died when she attempted to save Mary's dog, Puff from drowning.
In March 1554, Mary dismissed Lord Arran from his position as her Regent. Her mother, Mary de Guise, subsequently took over the position. Back at the French court, Mary's new music teacher, Lorenzo Marcellini arrived. Not long after, Mary Fleming began acting strange, until the Marys learned that Marcellini was harassing her. Around the same time, Mary started to suspect that someone was searching her room, later discovering the culprit, Marcellini by Catherine's orders. In December 1554, Mary invited Catherine to her First Communion, therefore forgiving her.
Later lifeOn April 24 1558, Mary married Francis in a grand ceremony at Notre Dame. Some seven months later, Mary's cousin Elizabeth I was crowned Queen of England, after the death of Mary Tudor. Mary's father-in-law, Henry II considered Elizabeth to be an illegitimate child, therefore declaring Mary the true Queen of England. Francis ascended the throne of France, but died of an ear affection in 1560. Mary waited nearly a year, before returning to her homeland.
A "staunch" Catholic, Mary found that Scotland had turned Protestant in her absence. In 1565, Mary married her first cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, who died under suspicious circumstances two years later. They had one child, the future King of Scotland and England, James VI and I. After marrying her third husband, James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, Mary was forced to abdicate her throne. Her third husband died in a Danish prison in 1578.
Mary fled to England, expecting support from her cousin, Queen Elizabeth. However, Elizabeth imprisoned Mary, fearing she may claim the English throne for herself. Over the following years, several plots to free Mary failed, all of which involved the Catholics trying to overthrow Elizabeth. In 1586, Queen Elizabeth's secretary of state, Francis Walsingham proved Mary's complicity in the Babington Plot. Mary was found guilty, but Elizabeth was reluctant to sign her death warrant. Nonetheless, Mary was beheaded on February 8, 1587.
Personality and traits
A devout Catholic, Mary always aimed to overcome her faults as well as her aversion to certain people. She particularly disliked Catherine de Medici, Queen of France and her future mother-in-law. Mary surmised that two Queens in one country was too many. After "examining her conscience," she eventually learned to be kind and sympathetic to Catherine. One of Mary's key traits was her impulsiveness, which often lead her into trouble.
As a child, Mary longed for Scotland, which she considered her homeland. She spoke Gaelic and enjoyed engaging in Scottish traditions with the Four Marys. Mary also enjoyed outdoor activities, such as horseback riding, hawking, hunting, and archery. She took lessons in mathematics, music, Latin and Greek.
|René de Lorraine II|
|Phillipine von Geldern|
|Francois de Bourbon|
|Marie de Luxembourg|
|♚James Stuart III|
|♛Henry Tudor VII|
|Claud de Guise|
|Antoinette de Bourbon|
|(1) ♚James Stuart IV|
|(2) Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus|
|Anne d'Este||Francis de Guise||Charles||Mary de Guise|
|Matthew Stewart, Earl of Lennox|
|(1) ♜Francis de Valois II|
|♚Mary, Queen of Scots|
|(2) Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley|
|(3) James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell|
|♚♛James VI and I|
♛ - King of England
♚ - King or Queen of Scotland
♜ - King of France
Behind the scenes
- Mary is the main character of Kathryn Lasky's Mary, Queen of Scots: Queen Without a Country.
- She is mentioned in Lasky's Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor. In the book, Mary's Regent Lord Arran visits the court and Elizabeth discovers him plotting with Mary Tudor.
- Although Mary is only mentioned in The Queen's Spies, she plays a huge role in the plot.
- Henry VIII's Wives (Mentioned only)
- Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor (Mentioned only)
- Lady Jane Grey (Mentioned only)
- Mary, Queen of Scots: Queen Without a Country
- The Queen's Spies (Mentioned only)
- ↑ Henry VIII's Wives, Alison Prince, page 233
- ↑ Mary, Queen of Scots: Queen Without a Country, Kathryn Lasky, page 18
- ↑ Mary, Queen of Scots: Queen Without a Country, Kathryn Lasky, page 3
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Mary, Queen of Scots: Queen Without a Country, Kathryn Lasky, The Stuart-de Guise Family Tree, pages 186-188
- ↑ Mary, Queen of Scots: Queen Without a Country, Kathryn Lasky, page 4
- ↑ Mary, Queen of Scots: Queen Without a Country, Kathryn Lasky, page 117
- Mary, Queen of Scots at Biography
- Mary, Queen of Scots at BBC History
- Mary, Queen of Scots at Encyclopedia Britannica
- Mary, Queen of Scots at the Catholic Encyclopedia
- Mary, Queen of Scots at Elizabeth I website
|Tudor related books and characters|