Mary Fleming
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Biographical Information
Real Name: Mary Fleming
Title: Lady Fleming

The Four Marys

Born: 1542
Death: 1581
Age: 39
Religion: Catholic
House: House of Stuart
Gender: Female Female
Parents: Malcolm Fleming (Father)

Janet Stewart (Mother)

Husband: William Maitland
Family: James IV of Scotland (Grandfather)

Queen Mary (First-Cousins)

Children: James (Son)

Margaret (Daughter)

TV Character Information
First appearance: Pilot
Portrays: Lady Lola
Portrayed by: Anna Popplewell

Historical Figure

Mary Fleming a Scottish noblewoman and childhood companion of Mary, Queen of Scots. She and three other Ladies-in-Waiting were collectively known as "The Four Marys". A granddaughter of James IV of Scotland, she married the queen's renowned secretary, Sir William Maitland.


Mary Fleming was the youngest child of Malcolm Fleming and Janet Stewart. She was born in 1542, the year her father was taken prisoner by the English at The Battle of Solway Moss. Her mother was an illegitimate daughter of James IV of Scotland, born during his marriage to Margaret Tudor. Lady Fleming became a governess to the infant Mary, Queen of Scots. also born in 1542. The dowager queen, Mary of Guise, chose Lady Fleming's daughter Mary to be one of four companions to the young queen. Mary Fleming and Mary, Queen of Scots, were half-first-cousins.

In 1548, five-year-old Mary Fleming and her mother accompanied Mary, Queen of Scots, to the court of King Henry II of France, where the young Queen was raised. Mary Fleming's father having died the previous year in the Battle of Pinkie, her mother had an affair with the French king, the product of which was a son born around 1551.

The English diplomat Thomas Randolph recorded that the Queen was particularly consoled by Mary Fleming when she was disturbed by the discovery of the French poet Chastelard hiding in her bedchamber. After having "some grief of mind" the Queen Mary took Mary to be her "bedfellow".

During the twelfth day of Christmas pageant in January 1564, Mary Fleming played the part of Queen. On 19 September 1564 William Kirkcaldy wrote that the Royal Secretary, William Maitland was showing an interest in Mary Fleming. [1]

Time in FranceEdit

Mary Fleming married the queen's royal secretary, Sir William Maitland, who was many years her senior. The following evidence compellingly suggests that the marriage was successful, despite rumors that they were unhappy and that Mary wished to murder her husband.

The wedding occurred after a three-year courtship that weathered ambivalent relations between Maitland and Mary, Queen of Scots, to whom Mary Fleming was a lady-in-waiting and had been since the age of five.

Maitland was so infatuated with Mary Fleming that he wrote to William Cecil about it. The courtship was the talk of both the Scottish and English Courts.

Mary Fleming was captured with her husband at Edinburgh Castle by the English, and then surrendered to Regent Morton. While her sister-in-law was permitted to keep her property and plate, Mary Fleming was forced to give up her possessions including jewelry given her by Mary, Queen of Scots. Her much-older husband was carried out of the castle on a litter, because he was unable to stand or walk. He died awaiting trial and execution. Suicide was suspected. After the death of William Maitland, Mary Fleming wrote to Cecil to prevent his dead body from being hanged, drawn and quartered. As a result, Queen Elizabeth asked Morton to spare the body, which he did.

Later in lifeEdit

Mary Fleming did not receive the restoration of Lethington's estate and properties until 1581-82, by grant of King James VI. While there is some dispute about this, the evidence is that she never remarried.

She had two children, a boy James, who later became a Catholic and lived in France and Belgium in self-imposed exile, and a daughter Margaret, who married Robert Ker. In 1581, Mary, Queen of Scots asked Queen Elizabeth to grant Fleming safe conduct so she could visit the imprisoned Queen of Scots. There is no evidence that Mary Fleming actually went. The last documents attributed to her are her letter to William Cecil and a letter to her sister discussing some bad feelings that existed between Fleming and her brother-in-law Coldingham.


Family TreeEdit

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

Historical Figure

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 |

References Edit

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