Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary, Queen of Scots (Mary Stuart, 1542-87) had a most unfortunate, tragic life. She became Queen of Scotland just six days after her birth. She married three times. Her French mother, Mary of Guise (1515-60) and her first husband, King Francis II of France (1544-60) died in the same year, when she was only 17 years old. Her second husband, Lord Darnley (1546-67) was murdered, probably by her third husband, the Earl of Bothwell (1534-78), who ran off to Norway after Mary was obliged to abdicate and he died in a Danish prison.

After 19 years of house arrest in England, she was finally found guilty of treason against her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I. She is said to have told the executioner at her beheading, “I forgive you with all my heart, for now, I hope, you shall make an end of all my troubles.”

It was due to Mary’s French relations and time spent living in France that the spelling of her original surname, Stewart, was changed to Stuart. Her son with Lord Darnley, James Stuart, inherited the Scottish throne as a baby and went on to also become King of England (styled King James VI and I) after the death of Elizabeth.

(Image: Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin at Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0)

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