- NAME: Mary, Queen of Scots
- OCCUPATION: Queen
- BIRTH DATE: December 08, 1542
- DEATH DATE: February 08, 1587
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Linilithgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
- PLACE OF DEATH: Fotheringhay Castle, Northamptonshire, England, United Kingdom
- Full Name: Mary, Queen of Scots
- AKA: Mary Stuart
- AKA: Mary I
- AKA: Mary Stewart
- AKA: Queen Mary
- AKA: Queen Mary I
Best Known For
In 1542, the Scottish throne went to Mary, Queen of Scots, a controversial monarch who would also become France's queen consort and claim the English crown.
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The death of her father, which occurred just days after her birth, put Mary, Queen of Scots, on the throne in 1542. She briefly became queen consort in France before returning to Scotland. Forced to abdicate by Scottish nobles in 1567, Mary sought the protection of England's Queen Elizabeth I, who instead had her arrested. Mary spent the remainder of her life in captivity until her 1587 execution.
Mary Stuart was born on December 8, 1542, in Linlithgow Palace, West Lothian, Scotland. She was the daughter of King James V of Scotland and his second wife, Mary of Guise. Her father died when Mary was only 6 days old, making her Mary, Queen of Scots.
Given Mary's age, her great uncle, Henry VIII, made a bid for control, but her mother ended up acting as regent on Mary's behalf. Mary was initially betrothed to Henry VIII's son, Prince Edward of England, but Scottish Catholics objected to this plan, as England had separated from the Catholic Church. When the match was annulled, England attacked Scotland in raids that became known as "The Rough Wooing."
Mary's mother was French, and the Scots had a longstanding alliance with France, so Mary was betrothed to the 4-year-old French heir. At the age of 5, Mary was sent to France, where she grew up in the luxurious French court. In 1558, she married Francis, the eldest son of French King Henry II and Catherine de Medicis.
In November 1558, Henry VIII's daughter, Elizabeth Tudor, became Queen Elizabeth I of England. However, many Roman Catholics considered Elizabeth's rule to be illegitimate, as they did not recognize the validity of Henry VIII's marriage to Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth's mother.
Mary's great-grandfather had been Henry VII (the father of Henry VIII); as a legitimate descendant of the Tudor line, she had a strong claim to the English throne. Mary's French father-in-law, Henry II, made this claim on her behalf.
In 1559, Mary's husband was crowned Francis II, making Mary his queen consort. Unfortunately, Francis died from an ear infection the year after he ascended to the throne, leaving Mary a widow at 18.
Following her husband's death, Mary returned to Scotland. By the time of her return, in 1561, John Knox's influence had changed Scotland's official religion from Catholicism to Protestantism. As a Roman Catholic raised in France, Mary found herself an outsider. However—with help from her illegitimate half-brother, James, earl of Moray—Mary managed to rule while creating an atmosphere of religious tolerance.
In 1565, Mary gave into infatuation and married her cousin, Henry Stewart, earl of Darnley. Mary's new husband was a grandson of Margaret Tudor; Mary uniting with a Tudor infuriated Elizabeth. Her marriage to Darnley also turned Mary's half-brother against her.
Darnley's own ruthless ambition caused other problems. In 1566, Darnley and a group of Protestant nobles viciously murdered David Rizzio, Mary's Italian secretary, stabbing him 56 times as a pregnant Mary looked on.
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