Mary, Queen of Scots
Early life [change]
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. She married three times. Her first husband was King Francis II of France. They were both young when they were married, and they had no children. Francis died from an ear infection that had spread to his brain, leaving Mary a widow.
Reign in Scotland [change]
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 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, the Earl of Bothwell, was loyal to Mary and hated Darnley. He arranged for Darnley to be killed. He tried to make it look as though Darnley had been killed in a fire at his house, but everyone knew that Bothwell was behind the murder, and some people believed that Mary had also been part of the plot to kill her husband. 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 [change]
Mary hoped that Elizabeth would help her to get her throne back, but Elizabeth did not. She kept Mary a prisoner for many years. Mary was eventually accused of making plans to murder Elizabeth, and so she was executed.