Historical Personalities in Short: Mary, Queen of Scots

  • Mary, Queen of Scots is one of the most famous queens of Europe. Her story is the most fascinating and controversial in History. She is not to be confused with Mary I, Queen of England, also known as “Bloody Mary”; Mary I was the daughter of Catherine of Aragon and Henry Tudor, the half-sister of Elizabeth I. Mary of Scots is Mary Stuart.

    Mary Queen of Scots

    Image By François Clouet – YQExprz3sIBJ8A at Google Cultural Institute maximum zoom level, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22127280

  • Mary, the only child of King James V of Scotland and Mary of Guise, was born on 8 December 1542. Her father died shortly after, making her the heir to Scotland’s throne at such a tender age.
  • In the year 1548, Mary of Scots was promised to Francis, the Dauphin of France, as a political agreement. She married him in April 1558, at the age of fifteen; he was fourteen at the time of the wedding. Francis, however, died two years later, in December 1560, leaving her with no children. Queen Mary loved Prince Francis so dearly that she had written a poem about him during her mourning. Her relationship with Francis was probably the only one she cherished the most.
  • Her mother, Mary of Guise, had been ruling Scotland till Mary came back. When she passed away in 1560, Mary took over as the Queen of Scotland. At this time, Elizabeth I, one of Henry VIII’s daughters, had taken over as Queen of England. Mary and Elizabeth were related through Henry, who was her grand-uncle.
  • Mary’s second marriage was to her cousin, Henry Stuart, the Earl of Darnley, in July 1565, with whom she had a son named James VI of Scotland. Henry Stuart was eventually killed under mysterious circumstances in an explosion in February 1567. She was thus relieved of this marriage, since she had grown to fear Henry. Was she the one who orchestrated it?
  • Shortly after, in May 1567, Mary of Scots was forced to marry James Hepburn, Lord of Bothwell, which allowed for a rebellion to rise against her. James was sent into exile and Mary was obliged to abdicate in favour of her son; she was imprisoned in Lochleven Castle, Kinross-shire. Although she managed to escape from here in 1568, she was eventually defeated near Glasgow in the Battle of Langside. She went to England, hoping to seek help from her cousin, Elizabeth I; she certainly did not expect to be imprisoned, instead, for 19 years.
  • Tired of captivity, she tried to plan a joint rule with her son, James, but he had already allied himself with Elizabeth, thus breaking her heart and all her hopes. In 1585, he made an official announcement of his allegiance.
  • By 1586, Mary was entangled in a ploy to assassinate Queen Elizabeth, which sealed her fate: She was tried for treason and declared guilty. In 1587, she was executed. She was 44 years old at this time and was said to have faced her death courageously, despite being discarded by both her own country and her son.


  1. Life and deathline of Mary, Queen of Scots
  2. Mary, Queen of Scots (r.1542-1567) | The Royal Family 
  3. Mary, Queen of Scots – Wikipedia