17 Epic Facts About Mary, Queen Of Scots That Are Worth Knowing

Oluwatosin Michael
Oct 06, 2023 By Oluwatosin Michael
Originally Published on Jan 04, 2022
The rightful heir to the english crown

The daughter of James V of Scotland, considered the youngest ascendant, is known as Mary I of Scotland or Mary Stuart.

Mary, Queen of Scots, was born on December 8, 1542, at the Linlithgow Palace is popularly recognized for her tragic downfall. Mary was an iconic identity who was later executed in 1587.

Mary's life was filled with romance, tragedy, drama, and controversies. She was prematurely born and was supposed to get married to Henry VIII'S son, Prince Edward. That did not happen, and she was sent to France.

She was an heir to the Scottish throne and the rightful heir to the English crown. She bequeathed Scotland and England and then married Francis II, who came to be king consort of Scotland. Mary's marriage with Francis ended after he died, and then she moved to Scotland.

Unaware of the hostile environment in Scotland between Roman Catholics and Protestants, she was subjected to uncertainty. Nevertheless, she later married Henry Stuart, who happened to be her half-cousin.

Lord Darnley and Mary had the same grandmother Margaret Tudor. However, her marriage with Lord Darnley also came to an end because of Darnley's murder. Later, she married James Hepburn, who was supposedly the primary convict of the murder.

Her marriage instantly sparked controversies and soon made to sign the agreement of her abdication. Mary escaped to England where she was suspected, inquired, and confined in various castles by the crowned Queen Elizabeth.

Although her claim to the English throne was strongest, she never governed it. She was put to trial as she was involved in the plot of Elizabeth's death and was ultimately beheaded. The Queen of Scotland met a tragic end, but her eldest son James I, gained the English throne and James VI of Scotland.

History is filled with ambitious characters who met a tragic end; therefore, Mary can also be considered a tragic failure. If you are eager to learn more fascinating information about Mary, Queen of Scots, then continue reading this article as we have more facts below.

If you like this article, then do not forget to check out our other articles on Philip II of Spain factsandPrince Philip and share them with everyone.

Mary Queen Of Scots: Life History

Mary was the Queen of Scotland had a significant claim over the throne of England.

However, before getting into the life history of Queen Mary, let's learn about the political scenario of England and Scotland for a better understanding. According to the Treaty of Greenwich, King Henry VIII of England wished for merging Scotland and England.

He proposed a union through marriage between his son Edward and Mary, the daughter of James V. Nevertheless, during this period, Cardinal Beaton gained his power and infuriated King Henry with this pro-catholic agenda and was later murdered by the Protestants.

After Scotland was defeated in the Battle of Pinkie, the security of Mary was compromised, and to protect her; she was sent to France. King Henry II of France enacted to unite France with Scotland by getting his son Dauphin Francis to marry Mary.

Mary was sent to France when she was five, and then she spent 13 years in France.

The daughter of Mary of Guise and James V of Scotland, Mary was born prematurely at the Linlithgow Palace in West Lothian and became the Queen of Scotland when she was an infant. Therefore Scotland was ruled by the regent.

The relation between England and Scotland became hostile as she was sent to the French court, and according to the treaty of Greenwich, she did not marry the son of Henry VIII. Mary was accompanied by her two illegitimate half-brothers and four girls her age.

Mary had a feasible childhood as she could play the lute, knew needlework, had an interest in poetry, prose and learned different languages.

Mary grew up to be a graceful lady, and when she was 16, she was married to Francis II. She moved to Scotland once again following Francis's death.

Meanwhile, the protestants were gaining power in Scotland, and the English troops were invited to Scotland by the protestant lords. Being a Roman Catholic, Mary was largely condemned, particularly by John Knox.

Nevertheless, later Mary married Henry Stuart and became Mary Stuart. Lord Darnley and Mary had a common grandmother.

Lord Darnley soon demanded the crown through their matrimonial ties, but Mary did not agree. They both had a son who later became King James I of England.

But the growing jealousy eventually led to the murdering of David Rizzio, who was her private secretary. With the rise of protestant power, both Mary and her husband escaped temporarily to Edinburgh, where Mary's son was born.

Lord Darnley became a victim of a conspiracy plotted by James Hepburn, who she later married. But their marriage brought the condemnation of many Roman Catholics and Protestants; therefore, she had to escape to England.

After Mary arrived in England, her cousin Elizabeth also saw her as a risk, and she was imprisoned many times. She was believed to have a role in the Babington plot along with Anthony Babington, for which she was arrested and executed.

Mary Queen Of Scots: Role In Kingdom of Scotland

Mary is an integral part of Scottish history as she is one of the most promising characters. On April 4, 1558, Mary signed an agreement to hand over Scotland to the French court.

Twenty days after this agreement, Mary was married to Francis II, who became the King of Scotland. But, Francis II died due to an ear infection.

After Francis died, Mary returned to Scotland almost nine months later, and France was inherited by Charles IX. As Mary spent the majority of her life in France before she arrived in 1561, she had no understanding of Scotland whatsoever.

Scotland during this period was going through a complicated time as it was constantly in a struggle with the Catholics and protestants. Her Catholic upbringing influenced Mary's life; therefore, she was often regarded suspiciously by most of her subjects, even though the leader of the protestants themselves was her illegitimate half-brother, the Earl of Moray.

Below we have stated her role in Scotland.

Although Mary, Queen of Scotland, was primarily criticized, she gave enough freedom to the protestants. She made Moray her chief advisory even though she was a prominent protestant leader.

Her council consisted of 16 members and had a majority of protestant members and only four catholic councilors. This was an indication of her aspiration towards Queen Elizabeth's throne as she neglected to appoint members in the interest of the French crown or the Catholics.

Her alliance with England was perhaps increasing; subsequently, her military force was decreasing in Scotland.

Meanwhile, the French war broke out, and Mary was more occupied with finding a new suitor. While most of the suitors were discarded by her, she eventually married the son of Mary Stewart.

Shortly after her marriage, Moray, with other lords, started a rebellion against the Queen of Scots, but Mary confronted them, and Moray failed to occupy the castle. However, things changed after the murder of Darnley, and Mary had to sign an agreement of abdication and leave Scotland.


Mary Queen Of Scots: Known For

Mary was such a prominent historical personality that even after her birth, there were several adaptions made in literature and cinema. She was someone who could easily charm and fascinate anyone, but her life had had enough failings and scandals that made her famous.

However, she was born as a premature child who managed to grow up to become exceptional.

Mary was a devout roman catholic, and her religious beliefs influenced all her actions. She was christened shortly after she was born in the Church of St Michael.

Mary is well known to be the youngest heir of the throne as she was only six days old when she became the Queen.

Besides her birth and inheritance, Mary was also famous for her asserted rivalry with her cousin Queen Elizabeth, her controversial marriage with Lord Darnley and Earl of Bothwell, her abdication and execution. More details about Mary and her controversial life is stated below.

Mary, Queen of Scotland, and her cousin Elizabeth turned sour and became one of the cold rivalries in history. Elizabeth was a protestant who had faced threats from the Catholics, while Mary was supported by the catholic and was had the dominant claim.

Therefore when Mary returned to Scotland and initiated to build a strong link, Elizabeth's position was already vulnerable.

With Mary returning to England after Mary's marriage with James Hepburn that aroused huge controversy, the threat to the English crown also increased. After years of turmoil, Mary was arrested along with Anthony Babington in the Babington plot that was uncovered by Elizabeth's spymaster Francis Walsingham.

Furthermore, the marriage with Bothwell did draw plenty of attention. Bothwell is believed to be the key conspirator behind the death of Mary's second husband.

The entire nation was shocked to learn why she would marry someone who plotted her husband's death. Mary was once again a center of a controversy that did not resolve easily, and she had to leave Scotland. Even hundreds of years after her death, Mary is deemed as a distinguished figure of a tragic tale.

Mary Queen Of Scots: Death And Burial

Mary went through many confinements before she was finally sentenced and put to death. Mary was imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle, and she was made to sign her abdication in favor of Mary's son James.

In 1568 Mary was able to escape from the castle and reached north of England. However, the situation in England was not what Mary expected it to be. Elizabeth was suspicious of the murder of Lord Darnley and administered an inquiry.

However, Mary was again confined to the Bolton castle, and again in 1569, she was relocated to the Tetbury castle. Queen Elizabeth deemed Mary as a potential threat to the English throne. In 1586 Mary was arrested after being involved in the Babington plot.

On October 25, Mary was convicted, and Elizabeth signed her death sentence. She was executed in 1587 and was buried secretly in the Fotheringhay castle.

Mary, after her arrest, was put on trial, and finally, her order of execution was approved. She spent the last few moments of life praying and distributing her belongings.

On February eight, 1587, Mary was brought to the execution center, and as per the ritual, the executioner prayed for forgiveness that Mary accepted. She was disrobed by her servants and was blindfolded with a white veil that was embroidered in gold.

She uttered her last words, 'Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.' But the death of Mary was more painful as she was not beheaded at one go and had to strike twice.

Mary's request to be buried in France was rejected by Elizabeth. She was embalmed and was confidentially buried in the Fotheringhay castle after her service was done in the Peterborough Cathedral.

Mary's son, who she saw for the last time at the Stirling castle later in 1612, exhumed her body from the Fotheringhay castle. His son was King James of England and James VI of Scotland.

So, King James VI reinterred her in the Westminster Abbey. While James I was buried with King Henry VII, many of her descendants were found buried in a similar vault as her.

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Written by Oluwatosin Michael

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

Oluwatosin Michael picture

Oluwatosin MichaelBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

With a Bachelor's in Microbiology from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oluwatosin has honed his skills as an SEO content writer, editor, and growth manager. He has written articles, conducted extensive research, and optimized content for search engines. His expertise extends to leading link-building efforts and revising onboarding strategies. 

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