Mary, Queen of Scots
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.
Early life[change | change source]
She married three times. Her first husband was King Francis II of France. They were both young when they were married as part of an alliance between their countries. They had no children. Francis died from an ear infection that had spread to his brain, leaving Mary a widow shortly before her 18th birthday.
Reign in Scotland[change | change source]
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, 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 | change source]
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. A jury of thirty noblemen convicted her of treason and she was executed.
Sometimes people said that even though Elizabeth signed the warrant, she gave instructions that some people could not understand. Elizabeth claimed that she did not sign the warrant and didn't give instructions for the execution.
References[change | change source]