Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary Stuart
Queen of Scots
Painted in 1578 during captivity in England
Reign14 December 1542 - 24 July 1567
Coronation9 September 1543
PredecessorJames V of Scotland
SuccessorJames VI of Scotland and I of England
RegentsJames Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Arran
Mary of Guise
Queen consort of France
Tenure10 July 1559 – 5 December 1560
BornTemplate:Birth date
Died8 February 1587(1587-02-08) (aged 44)
FatherJames V of Scotland
MotherMary of Guise
ReligionRoman Catholic

Mary, Queen of Scots (8 December 1542 – 8 February 1587), was Queen of Scotland from 14 December 1542 until 24 July 1567, when she was forced to give up her kingdom (abdicate). She was executed because it was said she had been plotting to kill her cousin, Elizabeth I of England.

Early life

Mary was the daughter of King James V of Scotland, who died just after she was born. She was crowned queen when she was only 6 days old.[1] Her mother, Marie de Guise, ruled as her regent.

She went to France when she was very young, and later married its King, Francis II as part of an alliance between their countries. But their marriage was short, Francis became very ill and later died from an ear infection that had spread to his brain, leaving Mary a widow shortly before her 18th birthday.

Reign in Scotland

When Mary returned to Scotland after spending her youth in France, she found that she was not popular in her kingdom. She had been brought up as a Catholic, but many people in Scotland had become Protestant. It was difficult for Mary to avoid siding with either the Catholics or the Protestants. As Mary was now free to marry again, there were lots of noblemen who wanted to become her husband. For her second husband, she chose an English lord named Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, who was of royal blood. Darnley was good-looking and charming, but he was often very childish, and he was jealous of Mary's secretary, an Italian named David Rizzio.

Mary became pregnant. While she was expecting the baby, Darnley and his friends got drunk one night and decided to kill David Rizzio. They came into Mary's private rooms at Holyrood Palace while she was talking with Rizzio and they stabbed him to death. Darnley got away with the murder because he was the queen's husband, but Mary never forgave him for murdering her friend Rizzio. When her baby was born, it was a boy, who would later become King James VI of Scotland.

A powerful Scottish nobleman, James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, was loyal to Mary and hated Darnley. When Darnley was murdered, he was suspected. Mary then agreed to marry the Earl of Bothwell. This was not a wise move, because Bothwell had many enemies. Mary's enemies forced her off the throne and made her young son king in her place. Mary was put in prison, but she escaped and crossed the border into England, which was ruled by her cousin, Elizabeth, Queen of England.

Imprisonment and execution

Mary hoped that Elizabeth would help her to get her throne back, but Elizabeth did not since it was always believed that Mary would try to take the throne from her. She kept Mary a prisoner for many years. Mary was eventually accused of making plans to murder Elizabeth. A jury of thirty noblemen convicted her of treason and she was executed.

Even though Elizabeth signed the death warrant, she put it off for a long time as she was not comfortable with executing someone who was both a family member and another queen.

Prior to her imprisonment in England, Mary was imprisoned at Lochleven Castle in Scotland.