Queen Mary

(Mary, Queen of Scots)

1542 - 1587

Mary, Queen of Scots
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Mary, Queen of Scots

Last Roman Catholic monarch of Scotland. Mary was born at Linlithgow Palace, the only surviving child of King James V (1512-42) and Mary of Lorraine (1515-60).

Although remembered as a heroic figure, she was in fact a poor ruler, lacking the political acumen of her cousin Queen Elizabeth I of England. At the age of just 16, she was married to Francis the Dauphin of France, but he died in 1560, and Mary returned the Scotland. However, as a Catholic monarch at the time of the Reformation in Scotland, her future was always going to be uncertain. After religious disputes with the Protestant reformer John Knox (1514-72), political intrigue involving her nobles, together with the murders of her secretary David Rizzio (1533-66) and her second husband Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley (1545-67), she surrendered to the Earl of Morton at Carberry Hill (near Musselburgh) and was imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle. Mary was forced to abdicate in 1567 in favour of her son King James VI (1566 - 1625). She escaped to England, but was held prisoner and eventually executed at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire for treason when she plotted against Queen Elizabeth. She was initially buried at Peterborough Cathedral, but was later re-interred at Westminster Abbey by her son James.

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