Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary, Queen of Scots, only surviving child of King James V. by his wife Marie de Lorraine, was born at Linlithgow 7 or 8 December 1542, and became Queen when only seven days old. Attempts were made by the English King, Henry VIII., to secure the young Queen's hand for his son (afterwards Edward VI.), and in pursuance of this policy his lieutenants invaded and ravaged Scotland. The last battle fought between Scots and English took place at Pinkie, near Edinburgh, 10 September 1547, and on 7 August 1548 Queen Mary was sent for safety to France. On 24 April 1558 she was married to the Dauphin Francis, son of Henry II. of France and Catherine de Medicis. On 10 July 1559 she became Queen of France by the accession of her husband as Francis II., but her reign lasted little more than a year - King Francis dying 5 December 1560. The widowed Queen Mary returned to Scotland on 19 August 1561, and on 29 July 1565 was married to her cousin, Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, eldest son of Matthew Stewart, Earl of Lennox, and Lady Margaret Douglas, daughter of Queen Margaret Tudor. (See James IV.) Henry, Lord Darnley, King of Scots, was, after an unhappy married life, murdered at Edinburgh on 10 February 1566-67, leaving an only child, afterwards James VI.

Queen Mary fell under the power of James Hepburn, fourth Earl of Bothwell, to whom she was married at Holyrood, 15 May 1567, and created Duke of Orkney. Dissension with the nobility ensued, and the Queen was made prisoner and detainedi n the island castle of Lochleven, where she remained until 2 May 1568, when she effected her escape.

During her captivity she abdicated 24 July 1567 in favour of her infant son, her half-brother, James Stewart, Earl of Moray, being appointed Regent. Her adherents met the Regent's troops in battle at Langside on 13 May 1568, but suffered a decisive defeat, following upon which the Queen fled into England. There, on various pretexts, she was detained prisoner by her cousin and rival, Queen Elizabeth, till 1586, when she was tried, condemned, and beheaded at Fotheringay Castle, in Northamptonshire, on 8 February 1586-87. Her remains, after being buried in Peterborough Cathedral, were afterwards removed to King Henry VII.'s chapel, Westminster Abbey.
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