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Mary, Queen of Scots
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Biographical Information
Real Name: Mary Stuart
Title: Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary I of Scotland
Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland

Reign: 14 December 1542 –
24 July 1567
Coronation: 9 September 1543
Predecessor: King James V
Successor: James VI
Born: 8 December 1542
Death: 8 February 1587
Age: 44
Religion: Roman Catholic
House: House of Stuart
Gender: Female Female.png
Height: 5'11
Originally From: Linlithgow Palace, Scotland
Parents: King James V (Father)

Marie de Guise (Mother)

Husband: Lord Bothwell

Lord Darnley
King Francis II

Family: James Stuart (Brother)

Duke of Guise (Uncle)
Claude de Guise (Uncle)
Queen Elizabeth (Second-Cousin)
Queen Mary (Second-Cousin)
King Edward VI (Second-Cousin)
Lady Jane Grey‏‎ (Second-Cousin)
King Henry VIII (Great Uncle)
Mary Fleming (Half-Frst-Cousins)

Children: King James VI

Unnamed twins(miscarried)

Affiliations: House of Guise

House of Valois

Burial: Peterborough Cathedral; Westminster Abbey
TV Character Information
Signature: Mary Stuart's Signature.png
First appearance: Pilot
Portrays: Mary Stuart
Portrayed by: Adelaide Kane

Mary Stuart who was most famously know as Mary, Queen of Scots became Queen when she was a week old after her father's death. She was raised in France and Scotland back and forth until she was finally married to the heir to the crown of France, Prince Francis II, who soon became King.


Mary was born on December 8, 1542 at Linlithgow. On December 14, six days after her birth, she became Queen of Scots when her father died, following The Battle of Solway Moss

As Mary was an infant when she inherited the throne, Scotland was ruled by three regents until she became of age. First by Catholic Cardinal Beaton, followed by Protestant Earl of Arran until 1554 when Mary's mother, Marie de Guise, took over.

King Henry VIII of England propose marriage between Mary and his son, Prince Edward, hoping for a union of Scotland and England. On 1 July 1543, when Mary was six months old, the Treaty of Greenwich was signed, promising at 10, mary would wed his son and move to England, where Henry could oversee her upbringing. The treaty provided that the two countries would remain legally separate and if the couple failed to have children, the temporary union would dissolve.

However, Cardinal Beaton pushed a pro-Catholic pro-French agenda, something that angered Henry, who wanted to break the Scottish alliance with France. Beaton wanted to move Mary away to Stirling Castle. The Earl of Lennox escorted Mary and her mother to Stirling on 27 July 1543 with 3,500 armed men. Mary was crowned in the castle chapel on 9 September 1543.

Soon, The Treaty of Greenwich was rejected by the Parliament of Scotland. Not long after, English forces mounted a series of raids on Scottish and French territory. On May 1544, the English Earl of Hertford raided Edinburgh, Scotland, and the Scots took Mary to Dunkeld for safety.

After a crushing blow during the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh with the English, and King Henry II's death, Mary was sent to Inchmahome Priory for no more than three weeks, and Scotland turned to the French for help.

king Henry II of France, proposed to unite France and Scotland by marrying Mary, to 3 year old, Prince Francis, the Dauphin Francis, and promised French military help. On February 1548, Mary was moved, again for her safety, to Dumbarton Castle. The English left a trail of devastation behind them and seized the strategic town of Haddington. The French arrived in June to help, and on 7 July 1548, the French marriage treaty was signed. [1]

Time in France

Mary was sent to France when she was just five years and eight months, nearly six, to spend the next thirteen years at the French court. The French fleet sent by king Henry II, sailed with Mary from Dumbarton on August 1548 and arrived a little over a week later at Roscoff in Brittany

Mary was accompanied by her own court including her illegitimate half-brother, James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray; and the "four Mary's." Four girls her own age, all named Mary, who were the daughters of some of the noblest families in Scotland: Beaton, Seton, Fleming, and Livingston.

At the French court, she was a favorite with everyone, except Henry II's wife Catherine de' Medici. Mary learned to play lute and virginals, was competent in prose, poetry, horsemanship, falconry, needlework, and was learned French, Italian, Latin, Spanish, and Greek. Her future sister-in-law, Elisabeth of Valois, became a very close friend of Mary.

On 4 April 1558, Mary signed a secret agreement bequeathing Scotland and her claim to England to the French crown if she died without heirs. Twenty days later, she married the Dauphin at Notre Dame de Paris, and Francis became king consort of Scotland. [2]

Return to Scotland

King Francis II died on 5 December 1560, of a middle ear infection that led to an abscess in his brain. Mary was grief-stricken Her mother-in-law, Catherine de' Medici, became regent for the late king's ten-year-old brother Charles IX, who inherited the French throne.

Mary's all-white mourning garb earned her the sobriquet La Reine Blanche. She was said to have wept uncontrollably; she was undoubtedly fond of Francis, having grown up with him and nursed him with Catherine de' Medici until his death.

Mary returned to Scotland nine months after her husband's death, arriving in Leith on 19 August 1561. Having lived in France since the age of five, Mary had little direct experience of the dangerous and complex political situation in Scotland. As a devout Catholic, she was regarded with suspicion by many of her subjects, as well as by Queen Elizabeth. Scotland was torn between Catholic and Protestant factions, and Mary's illegitimate half-brother, James Stuart, was a leader of the Protestants. The Protestant reformer John Knox preached against Mary, condemning her for hearing Mass, dancing, and dressing too elaborately. She summoned him to her presence to remonstrate with him unsuccessfully and later charged him with treason, but he was acquitted and released.

To the disappointment of the Catholic party, however, Mary tolerated the newly established Protestant ascendancy and kept her half-brother James as her chief advisor. Her privy council of 16 men, appointed on 6 September 1561, retained those who already held offices, and was dominated by the Protestants. Only four of the councilors were Catholic. Modern historian Jenny Wormald suggesting that Mary's failure to appoint a council sympathetic to Catholic and French interests was an indication of her focus on the goal of the English throne over the internal problems of Scotland.

Mary sent William Maitland of Lethington as an ambassador to the English court to put the case for Mary as the heir presumptive to the English throne. Queen Elizabeth refused to name a potential heir, fearing that to do so would invite conspiracy to displace her with the nominated successor. However, Elizabeth assured Maitland that she knew no one with a better claim than Mary. In late 1561 and early 1562, arrangements were made for the two queens to meet in England at York or Nottingham in August or September 1562, but Elizabeth sent Sir Henry Sidney to cancel in July because of the civil war in France.

Mary turned her attention to finding a new husband from the royalty of Europe. However, when her uncle began negotiations with Archduke Charles of Austria without her consent, she angrily objected and the negotiations foundered. Her own attempt to negotiate a marriage to Don Carlos, the mentally unstable heir apparent of King Philip II of Spain, was rebuffed by Philip himself. Elizabeth attempted to neutralize Mary by suggesting that she marry English Protestant Robert Dudley, the English queen's own favourite, whom Elizabeth trusted and thought she could control. She sent an ambassador, Thomas Randolph, to tell Mary that if she would marry an English nobleman, Elizabeth would "proceed to the inquisition of her right and title to be our next cousin and heir". The proposal came to nothing, not least because the intended bridegroom was unwilling.

In contrast, a French poet at Mary's court, Pierre de Boscosel de Chastelard, was apparently besotted by Mary. In early 1563, he was discovered during a security search hidden underneath her bed, apparently planning to surprise her when she was alone and declare his love for her. Mary was horrified and banished him from Scotland. He ignored the edict, and two days later he forced his way into her chamber as she was about to disrobe. She reacted with fury and fear, and when her half-brother James, rushed into the room, in reaction to her cries for help, she shouted, "Thrust your dagger into the villain!", which he refused to do, as Chastelard was already under restraint. Chastelard was tried for treason and beheaded. [2]

Marriage to Lord Darnley

Mary had briefly met her English-born first cousin Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, in February 1561 when she was in mourning for King Francis II. Darnley's parents, Lord and Lady Lennox, who were Scottish aristocrats as well as English landowners, had sent him to France ostensibly to extend their condolences while hoping for a potential match between their son and Mary. Both Mary and Darnley were grandchildren of Margaret Tudor, sister of Henry VIII of England, and patrilineal descendants of the High Stewards of Scotland. They next met on Saturday 17 February 1565 at Wemyss Castle in Scotland, after which Mary fell in love with the "long lad" (as Queen Elizabeth called him—he was over six feet tall). They married at Holyrood Palace on 29 July 1565, even though both were Catholic and a papal dispensation for the marriage of first cousins had not been obtained.

English statesmen William Cecil and Robert Dudley had worked to obtain Darnley's license to travel to Scotland from his home in England. Although her advisors had thus brought the couple together, Elizabeth felt threatened by the marriage, because as descendants of her aunt, both Mary and Darnley were claimants to the English throne and their children would inherit an even stronger claim. However, Mary's insistence on the marriage seems to have stemmed from passion rather than calculation. The union infuriated Elizabeth, who felt the marriage should not have gone ahead without her permission, as Darnley was both her cousin and an English subject.

Mary's marriage to a leading Catholic precipitated Mary's half-brother, James Stuart, to join with other Protestant Lords, in open rebellion. Mary set out from Edinburgh on 26 August 1565 to confront them, and on the 30th James entered Edinburgh, but left soon afterward having failed to take the castle. Mary returned to Edinburgh the following month to raise more troops. In what became known as the Chaseabout Raid, Mary and her forces and James and the rebellious lords roamed around Scotland without ever engaging in direct combat. Mary's numbers were boosted by the return of Lord Bothwell, from exile in France. Unable to muster sufficient support, in October James Stuart left Scotland for asylum in England.

Before long, King Darnley grew arrogant. Not content with his position as king consort, he demanded The Crown Matrimonial, which would have made him a co-sovereign of Scotland with the right to keep the Scottish throne for himself if he outlived his wife. Mary refused his request, and their marriage grew strained even though they conceived by October 1565. He was jealous of her friendship with her private secretary, David Rizzio, who was rumored to be the father of her child. By March 1566, Darnley had entered into a secret conspiracy with Protestant lords, including the nobles who had rebelled against Mary in the Chaseabout Raid. On 9 March, a group of the conspirators, accompanied by Darnley, and Lord Ruthven murdered Rizzio in front of the pregnant Mary at a dinner party in Holyrood Palace. Over the next two days, a disillusioned Darnley switched sides, and Mary received James at Holyrood. On the night of 11–12 March, Darnley, and Mary escaped from the palace and took temporary refuge in Dunbar Castle before returning to Edinburgh on 18 March. The former rebels including her half-brother James were restored to the council.

Murder of Darnley

Mary's son by Lord Darnley, Prince James, was born on 19 June 1566 in Edinburgh Castle, but the murder of David Rizzio led inevitably to the breakdown of her marriage. In October 1566, while staying at Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders, Mary made a journey on horseback of at least four hours each way to visit Lord Bothwell at Hermitage Castle, where he lay ill from wounds sustained in a skirmish with border reivers. The ride was later used as evidence by Mary's enemies that the two were lovers, though no suspicions were voiced at the time and Mary had been accompanied by her councilors and guards. Immediately after her return to Jedburgh, Mary suffered a serious illness that included frequent vomiting, loss of sight, loss of speech, convulsions and periods of unconsciousness. She was thought to be near death or dying. Her recovery from 25 October onwards was credited to the skill of her French physicians. The cause of her illness is unknown; diagnoses include physical exhaustion and mental stress, hemorrhage of a gastric ulcer, and porphyria.

At Craigmillar Castle, near Edinburgh, at the end of November 1566, Mary and leading nobles held a meeting to discuss the "problem of Darnley". Divorce was discussed, but then a bond was probably sworn between the lords present to remove Darnley by other means. Darnley feared for his safety and after the baptism of his son at Stirling shortly before Christmas, he went to Glasgow to stay on his father's estates. At the start of the journey, he was afflicted by a fever, possibly smallpox, or the result of poison, and he remained ill for weeks.

In late January 1567, Mary prompted her husband to return to Edinburgh. Mary visited him daily so that it appeared a reconciliation was in progress. On the night of 9–10 February 1567, Mary visited her husband in the early evening and then attended the wedding celebrations of a member of her household. In the early hours of the morning, an explosion devastated Kirk o' Field, and Darnley was found dead in the garden. There were no visible marks of strangulation or violence on the body. Lord Bothwell, James Stuart and Mary herself were among those under suspicion. Elizabeth wrote to Mary of the rumors, "I should ill fulfill the office of a faithful cousin or an affectionate friend if I did not ... tell you what all the world is thinking. Men say that, instead of seizing the murderers, you are looking through your fingers while they escape; that you will not seek revenge on those who have done you so much pleasure, as though the deed would never have taken place had not the doers of it been assured of impunity. For myself, I beg you to believe that I would not harbor such a thought."

By the end of February, Lord Bothwell was generally believed to be guilty of Darnley's assassination. Lord Lennox, Darnley's father, demanded that Bothwell be tried before the Estates of Parliament, to which Mary agreed, but Lennox's request for a delay to gather evidence was denied. In the absence of Lennox, and with no evidence presented, Bothwell was acquitted after a seven-hour trial on 12 April. A week later, Bothwell managed to convince more than two dozen lords and bishops to sign the Ainslie Tavern Bond, in which they agreed to support his aim to marry the queen.

Imprisonment in Scotland and Abdication

Between 21 and 23 April 1567, Mary visited her son at Stirling for the last time. On her way back to Edinburgh, Scotland on 24 April, Mary was abducted, willingly or not, by Lord Bothwell and his men and taken to Dunbar Castle, where he may have raped her. On 6 May, Mary and Bothwell returned to Edinburgh and on 15 May, at the Holyrood Palace, they were married according to Protestant rites. Lord Bothwell and his first wife, Jean Gordon, had divorced twelve days previously.

Originally Mary believed that many nobles supported her marriage, but things soon turned sour between the newly elevated Lord Bothwell and his former peers, and the marriage proved to be deeply unpopular. Catholics considered the marriage unlawful since they did not recognize Bothwell's divorce or the validity of the Protestant service. Both Protestants and Catholics were shocked that Mary should marry the man accused of murdering her husband, King Darnley. The marriage was tempestuous, and Mary became despondent. Twenty-six Scottish peers turned against Mary and Bothwell, raising an army against them. Mary and Bothwell confronted the Lords at Carberry Hill on 15 June, but there was no battle as Mary's forces dwindled away through desertion during negotiations. Bothwell was given safe passage from the field, and the lords took Mary to Edinburgh, where crowds of spectators denounced her as an adulteress and murderer. The following night, she was imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle, on an island in the middle of Loch Leven. Between 20 and 23 July, Mary miscarried twins. On 24 July, she was forced to abdicate in favour of her one-year-old son Prince James. James Stuart was made regent, while Bothwell was driven into exile. He was imprisoned in Denmark, became insane and died in 1578.

Escape and imprisonment in England

On 2 May 1568, Mary escaped from Loch Leven Castle. Managing to raise an army of 6,000 men, she met James Stuart smaller forces at the Battle of Langside on 13 May. Defeated, she fled south and crossed the Solway Firth into England by fishing boat on 16 May. She landed in Cumberland on the north of England, two days later, local officials took her into protective custody.

Mary apparently expected Elizabeth to help her regain her throne. Queen Elizabeth was cautious, ordering an inquiry into the conduct of the Confederate Lords and the question of whether Mary was guilty of Lord Darnley's murder. In mid-July 1568, English authorities moved Mary to Bolton Castle, because it was further from the Scottish border but not too close to London. An inquiry was held in York and later Westminster between October 1568 and January 1569. In Scotland, her supporters fought a civil war against Regent James Stuart and his successors.

As an anointed queen, Mary refused to acknowledge the power of any court to try her and refused to attend the inquiry at York personally. Elizabeth forbade her attendance anyway. As evidence against Mary, James Stuart presented the so-called casket letters (eight unsigned letters purportedly from Mary to Lord Bothwell, two marriage contracts, and a love sonnet or sonnets said to have been found in a silver-gilt casket just less than one foot long, decorated with the monogram of King Francis II.) Mary denied writing them, arguing that her handwriting was not difficult to imitate, and insisted they were forgeries. They are widely believed to be crucial as to whether Mary shares the guilt for Lord Darnley's murder. The chair of the commission of inquiry, the Duke of Norfolk, described them as horrible letters and diverse fond ballads, and sent copies to Elizabeth, saying that if they were genuine they might prove Mary's guilt.

The authenticity of the casket letters has been the source of much controversy among historians. It is impossible now to prove either way. The originals, written in French, were probably destroyed in 1584 by Mary's son. Other documents scrutinized included Lord Bothwell's divorce from Jean Gordon. James Stewart had sent a messenger in September to Dunbar to get a copy of the proceedings from the town's registers.

Mary's biographers, have come to the conclusion that either the documents were complete forgeries or incriminating passages were inserted into genuine letters, or that the letters were written to Bothwell by some other person or by Mary to some other person. Guy points out that the letters are disjointed, and that the French language and grammar employed in the sonnets are too poor for a writer with Mary's education.

At least some of Mary's contemporaries who saw the letters had no doubt that they were genuine. Among them was the Duke of Norfolk, who secretly conspired to marry Mary in the course of the commission, although he denied it when Elizabeth alluded to his marriage plans, saying "he meant never to marry with a person, where he could not be sure of his pillow".

The majority of the commissioners accepted the casket letters as genuine after a study of their contents and comparison of the penmanship with examples of Mary's handwriting. Elizabeth, as she had wished, concluded the inquiry with a verdict that nothing was proven, either against the confederate lords or Mary. For overriding political reasons, Elizabeth wished neither to convict nor acquit Mary of murder, and there was never any intention to proceed judicially; the conference was intended as a political exercise. In the end, James Stewart returned to Scotland as its regent, and Mary remained in custody in England. Elizabeth had succeeded in maintaining a Protestant government in Scotland, without either condemning or releasing her fellow sovereign.

On 26 January 1569, Mary was moved to Tutbury Castle and placed in the custody of the Earl of Shrewsbury and his formidable wife Bess of Hardwick. Elizabeth considered Mary's designs on the English throne to be a serious threat and so confined her to Shrewsbury's properties. All located in the interior of England halfway between Scotland and London. Mary was permitted her own domestic staff, which never numbered less than 16, and needed 30 carts to transport her belongings from house to house. Her chambers were decorated with fine tapestries and carpets, as well as her cloth of state on which she had the French phrase "In my end lies my beginning" embroidered. Her bed linen was changed daily, and her own chefs prepared meals with a choice of 32 dishes served on silver plates. She was occasionally allowed outside under strict supervision, spent seven summers at the spa town of Buxton, and spent much of her time doing embroidery. Her health declined, perhaps through porphyria or lack of exercise, and by the 1580s, she had severe rheumatism in her limbs, rendering her lame.

In May 1569, Elizabeth attempted to mediate the restoration of Mary in return for guarantees of the Protestant religion, but a convention rejected the deal overwhelmingly. Norfolk continued to scheme for a marriage with Mary, and Elizabeth imprisoned him in The Tower of London between October 1569 and August 1570. Early in the following year, James Stewart was assassinated. James Stewart's death coincided with a rebellion in the North of England, led by Catholic earls, which persuaded Elizabeth that Mary was a threat. English troops intervened in the Scottish civil war, consolidating the power of the anti-Marian forces. Elizabeth's principal secretaries, including William Cecil, watched Mary carefully with the aid of spies placed in Mary's household.

In 1571, William Cecil and Walsingham uncovered the Ridolfi Plot, which was a plan to replace Elizabeth with Mary with the help of Spanish troops and the Duke of Norfolk. Norfolk was executed, and the English Parliament introduced a bill barring Mary from the throne, to which Elizabeth refused to give royal assent. To discredit Mary, the casket letters were published in London. Plots centered on Mary continued. Pope Gregory XIII endorsed one plan in the latter half of the 1570s to marry her to the governor of the Low Countries and half-brother of King Philip II of Spain, Don John of Austria, who was supposed to organise the invasion of England from the Spanish Netherlands. After the Throckmorton Plot of 1583, Walsingham introduced the Bond of Association and the Act for the Queen's Safety, which sanctioned the killing of anyone who plotted against Elizabeth and aimed to prevent a putative successor from profiting from her murder. In February 1585, William Parry was convicted of plotting to assassinate Elizabeth, without Mary's knowledge, though her agent Thomas Morgan was implicated. In April, Mary was placed in the stricter custody of Sir Amias Paulet, and at Christmas, she was moved to a moated manor house at Chartley.


On 11 August 1586, after being implicated in the Babington Plot, Mary was arrested while out riding and taken to Tixall. In a successful attempt to entrap her, Walsingham had deliberately arranged for Mary's letters to be smuggled out of Chartley. Mary was misled into thinking her letters were secure, while in reality they were deciphered and read by Walsingham. From these letters it was clear that Mary had sanctioned the attempted assassination of Queen Elizabeth. She was moved to Fotheringhay Castle in a four-day journey ending on 25 September, and in October was put on trial for treason under the Act for the Queen's Safety before a court of 36 noblemen, including William Cecil. Spirited in her defence, Mary denied the charges. She told her tries, "Look to your consciences and remember that the theatre of the whole world is wider than the kingdom of England". She protested that she had been denied the opportunity to review the evidence, that her papers had been removed from her, that she was denied access to legal counsel and that as a foreign anointed queen she had never been an English subject and thus could not be convicted of treason.

Mary was convicted on 25 October and sentenced to death with only one commissioner, Lord Zouche, expressing any form of dissent. Despite this, Elizabeth hesitated to order her execution, even in the face of pressure from the English Parliament to carry out the sentence. She was concerned that the killing of a queen set a discreditable precedent, and was fearful of the consequences, especially if, in retaliation, Mary's son King James VI formed an alliance with the Catholic powers and invaded England. On 1 February 1587, Elizabeth signed the death warrant and entrusted it to William Davison, a privy councillor. On the 3rd, ten members of the Privy Council of England, having been summoned by William Cecil without Elizabeth's knowledge, decided to carry out the sentence at once.

At Fotheringhay on the evening of 7 February 1587, Mary was told that she was to be executed the next morning. She spent the last hours of her life in prayer, distributing her belongings to her household, and writing her will and a letter to the King of France. The scaffold that was erected in the Great Hall was two feet high and draped in black. It was reached by two or three steps and furnished with the block, a cushion for her to kneel on and three stools, for her and the earls of Shrewsbury and Kent, who were there to witness the execution. The executioners knelt before her and asked forgiveness. She replied, "I forgive you with all my heart, for now, I hope, you shall make an end of all my troubles." Her servants, Jane Kennedy and Elizabeth Curle, and the executioners helped Mary to remove her outer garments, revealing a velvet petticoat and a pair of sleeves in crimson-brown, the liturgical colour of martyrdom in the Catholic Church. As she disrobed she smiled and said that she "never had such grooms before ... nor ever put off her clothes before such a company". She was blindfolded by Kennedy with a white veil embroidered in gold, knelt down on the cushion in front of the block, on which she positioned her head, and stretched out her arms. Her last words were, in Latin "Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit".

Mary was not beheaded with a single strike. The first blow missed her neck and struck the back of her head. The second blow severed the neck, except for a small bit of sinew, which the executioner cut through using the axe. Afterwards, he held her head aloft and declared, "God save the Queen." At that moment, the auburn tresses in his hand turned out to be a wig and the head fell to the ground, revealing that Mary had very short, grey hair. Items supposedly worn or carried by Mary at her execution are of doubtful provenance; contemporary accounts state that all her clothing, the block, and everything touched by her blood was burnt in the fireplace of the Great Hall to obstruct relic-hunters

Later in life

  • Upon Francis' death, Mary was overwhelmed by grief. Having recently lost her mother, Mary was distraught, The duration of Francis' illness and the pain of watching him suffer had made her ill and exhausted.
  • Mary was married three times. Each of her marriages ended in the death of her husband.
    • Her second husband, Lord Darnley died in 1567, two years after his marriage to Mary. The union produced one son, King James VI and I, King of Scotland and England. She was twenty-three at the time of his birth.
    • She wed her third husband, James Hepburn/Lord Bothwell, in 1567. He died eleven years later in 1578. The marriage produced no children and was highly unpopular with the Scottish people. In fact, it was one of the primary reasons for Queen Mary's forced abdication in July of 1567.
  • Little James saw his mother for the last time when he was thirteen months old. Mary was forced to abdicate the Scottish throne in favour of her young son. James thus became King James VI of Scotland and Mary fled to England, seeking refuge at the court of her cousin, Elizabeth I.
  • Elizabeth imprisoned Mary, claiming she was a threat to the English crown and had threatened her many times before. This alluded to the attempted claims of the Scottish queen and her late French king following the death of Mary Tudor, Elizabeth's predecessor.
  • Mary was imprisoned at the hands of Elizabeth for nineteen years. In 1587, at forty-four years old, Mary was executed by order of her cousin, the English queen. All of Mary's possessions were burned by orders of the English government.
    • One of King James I' great ambitions was to inherit the English throne, so when Queen Elizabeth I signed his mother's death warrant, he only made a formal protest. He did not attempt to save Mary's life, hoping that Elizabeth would favour him and name him her successor.
    • On March 24, 1603, when Elizabeth I of England died, King James VI inherited the English throne, becoming King James I of England.
  • Mary's death warrant was signed by Elizabeth sometime in early 1587, though the English queen would later claim that she was unaware of the document's contents and signed off on Mary's death unwillingly.
  • Mary was executed on February 8, 1587, in the Great Hall of Fotheringhay Castle. She wore a red petticoat beneath her black dress, a symbol of Catholic martyrdom, as some English claimed that Catholicism would die with Mary. The executioner was unsteady and though the first blow came, it was not the end for Mary. It is said that the first blow came unsuccessfully, Mary whispered "For fuck sake", and the second blow fell, thus ending her life.


  • Mary was born December 8, 1542, and was made Queen on December 14, when she was 6 days old.
  • In Scotland, Mary's formal surname and royal house is spelled 'Stewart'. But in France, it is 'Stuart'.
  • Mary was born the great-niece of King Henry VIII of England, as her paternal grandmother, Margaret Tudor, was Henry VIII's sister.
  • King Henry II of France's sister, Madeleine of Valois, was Mary's father's King James V's first wife.
  • December 1543 – March 1551 The War of the Rough Wooing broke out between Scotland and England. Following England's break with Rome, they attack Scotland, partly to force Scotland to agree to a marriage alliance between its child Queen, Mary, Queen of Scots and King Henry VIII's son and heir, Prince Edward.
  • Mary Seton and Mary Beaton, two of Mary's Ladies-in-Waiting's mother's were Ladies-in-Waiting to her own mother, Mary of Guise.
  • Mary was exceptionally tall for a woman of her time, nearly six feet in height.
  • Her father King James, sought the hand of Catherine de' Medici before her marriage to Prince Henry.
  • Mary was briefly engaged to Prince Edward of England when she was 6 months old, and for an even shorter time was considered for King Philip II's first son, Don Carlos who was 4 years her junior.
  • Mary was considered a pretty child and later, a strikingly attractive woman.
  • Mary Fleming and Queen Mary were half-first-cousins.
  • Lord Lennox escorted Mary, his future daughter-in-law to Stirling on 26 July 1543.
  • In childhood, she caught smallpox, but it did not mark her features.
  • Marie of Guise, Mary's mother, visited Mary in France when she was seven. Neither mother nor daughter realized this would be the last time they would see each other.
  • Mary actually signed herself 'Marie' throughout her life due to her French upbringing.
  • April 4, 1558, Mary knowingly signed a secret agreement bequeathing Scotland and her claim to England to the French crown if she died without heirs.
  • She and Francis partook in a secret wedding ceremony. Their public wedding took place on the 24th of April in 1558 at the Church of Notre Dame in Paris.
  • Mary, Queen of Scots briefly met her future husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley in February 1561 when she was in mourning for King Francis II. Darnley's parents, Lord and Lady Lennox, who were Scottish aristocrats as well as English landowners, had sent him to France ostensibly to extend their condolences while hoping for a potential match between the two.
  • Mary returned to Scotland on 19 August 1561, after King Francis' death when she was 18 years old.
  • Mary Beaton's aunt, Janet Beaton was mistress to Lord Bothwell, who became Mary's 3rd husband.
  • Lord Ruthven reported in June 1563 that he had joined Mary, Queen of Scots's privy council.
  • Mary, Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley were married on 29 July 1565 in Mary's private chapel at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Mary, Queen of Scots's brother James Stuart attending both of Mary's weddings.
  • John Knox married Margaret Stewart as his 17-year old Scottish second wife, and she was related to Mary, Queen of Scots, however, they married without her permission. The couple had 3 daughters.
  • David Rizzio and Mary, Queen of Scots had known each other for approximately 5 years as they had met in 1561, after Mary's return to Scotland, until his death in 1566.
  • Mary, Queen of Scots was 7 months pregnant and held at gunpoint when David Rizzio was stabbed. He was stabbed 56 times by King Darnley, and his friends. His murder was lead by Lord Ruthven.
  • On 2 April 1566, Lord Ruthven sent their testimony on David Rizzio's murder to Queen Elizabeth I, declaring they had acted the best for King Darnley, Mary, Queen of Scots, state, and religion.
  • Although Mary sought refuge in her cousin Elizabeth's Court, Queen Elizabeth imprisoned her and ordered Mary's execution, the two queens never actually met.

Family Tree

Henry Tudor
Elizabeth of York
Catherine of Aragon
King Henry Tudor
Anne Boleyn
Margaret Tudor
James Stuart IV
Queen Mary
Queen Elizabeth
Lady Margaret Erskine
King James Stuart V
Mary of Guise
James Stuart
Qyeen Mary
King Francis
King James Stuart VI

Related Pages

Pages relating to Mary Stuart are the following:

Mary Stuart 
Mary, Queen of Scots
Mary Stuart's Fashion Style
Queen Mary and Prince Francis' Wedding
Mary and FrancisMary and CondéMary and Don Carlos
Mary and CatherineMary and LolaClarissa and MaryMary and Sebastian
Mary's RingsMary Stuart's Kill CountQueen Mary's Room
Adelaide Kane's Fashion Style
Adelaide Kane

v  d  e
King: Henry Darnley (Regant) Queen: Mary Stuart
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Heir: Prince James Stuart Lands: Kingdom of Scotland
Title(s): Mary, Queen of Scots · Queen of Scotland ·
Ancestors: King James Stuart IV of Scotland · King James V of Scotland
Current members: James Stuart ·
Deceased members: ·
Household: ·

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Pages: Historical Events | Historical References | Historical Timeline |
Kings: King Antoine of Navarre | King Edward of England | King Henry II of France | King Henry VIII of England |
King James V of Scotland | King Francis I of France | King Francis II of France | King Charles IX of France |
King Philip II of Spain |
Queens: Queen Catherine of France | Queen Mary of Scotland | Queen Anne of England | Queen Elizabeth of England | Queen Jane of England | Queen Mary of England | Queen Jeanne of Navarre | Queen Elisabeth of Spain |
Princes: Prince of the Blood, Louis Condé | Price Don Carlos of Spain | Price Henry of France | Prince Henry de Bourbon | Duke Francis of France |
Princesses: Princess Claude of France | Catherine of Aragon | Princess Catherine de Bourbon |
Lords: Robert Dudley | William Cecil | Henry Darnley | Matthew Lennox | Patrick Ruthven
Ladies: Amy Dudley | Mary Boleyn | Mary Fleming | Mary Livingston | Mary Beaton | Mary Seton | Margaret Lennox |
Nobles: Diane de Poitiers | James Stuart | Marie de Guise | Lucrezia de' Medici |
Others: Nostradamus | John Knox | Pope Clement VII |