Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots

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A short biography

08.12.1542 Mary born in Lithlingow Palace, West Lothian, as daughter of James V and the French Mary of Guise, and granddaughter of Margaret Tudor. At the day of her birth, James already lay on his deathbed at Falkland

14.12.1542 James V dies, Mary is now Queen of Scotland. Henry VIII of England attempts to engage her to his son, Prince Edward (who dies in 1553), in order to add Scotland to his kingdom, but Scottish parliament annulles that engagement, conjuring up a war with England

1546 The reformers, led by John Knox, murder Cardinal Beaton at St. Andrews and hold the Castle with English aid against the forces of the Queen ( or better: her mother). When the castle of St. Andrews surrenders in July 1547, the reformers are executed or send to the French galleys.

07.08.1548 after the Scot's defeat at Pinkie, her mother sends Mary to France for her own safety and to receive a Catholic education.

24.04.1558 to assure Scotland of France's help in the conflict with England, Mary marries Dauphin Francis, son of Henry II, King of France, at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. Queen May I of England dies the same year, and Mary opposes the crowning of Elizabeth I

1559 death of Henry II in a jousting accident; Francis and Mary are now sovereigns of France. Mary is now both Queen of Scotland and France, and she assumes the lions of Enhgland in her arms, following the death of the Catholic Mary Tudor in 1558 and the accession of Elizabeth, who was denounced as a heretic and a bastard.

1560 Francis dies from an abscess in his brain, result of a chronic inflammation of the middle ear. Mary is childless and has little power at court, where her mother-in-law Katharina de'Medici is now paramount.

06. 1560 the death of Queen Mother places the Lords of the Congregation in the ascendant. A parliament, of dubious legality, is called and rushes thruogh a series of measures, abolishing Roman Catholicism and prohibiting the practice of that religion on pain of death. With William Maitland of Lethington and Lord James Stewart, Mary's illegitimate half brother, John Knox forms the Triumvirate that rules Scotland after the death of Marie of Guise.

1561 after the death of her mother, Catholic Mary is sent back to Potestant Scotland by Katharina de'Medici. Scotland had changed radically in political and religuous terms since she had last seen it. Accepting the situation, she relies heavily on the advice of her half- brother, whom she makes Earl of Moray. She knows that there could be no Counter- Reformation though she hopes that Catholics might be permitted to practise their faith unmolested. But even her celebration of Mass in the privacy of her own chapel causes a furore, and mary, in a series of confrontations with John Knox, finds him obdurate.

1565 as her second husband, Mary chose her Cousin Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley. They both were grandchildren of Margaret Tudor. Darnley's father, Earl of Lennox, was a son of Margaret's second marriage, to the Earl of Angus. So Darnley is next after Mary herself in the line of succession to the English throne. Elizabeth is furious. Shortly after the murder, Mary gives birth to her son James, the future King of England and Scotland

09.03.1566 Foolish, vain, egoistical and dissolute, Darnley is manipulated by certain lords who plotted the murder of Mary's italian secretary David Riccio. Formerly valet to the Savoyard ambassador, he had become the Queen's favourite, though rumours of sexual impropriety are unfounded. Riccio's murder was followed shortly by a plot to murder Darnley himself

10.02.1567 Darnley murdered at Kirk o'Field; the house is destroyed by an explosion, but Darnley and his servant are later found strangled in a nearby orchard. Mary is suspected of being involved

15.05.1567 marriage ( according to the new Protestant rites) with James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, another suspect of the murder. He had been her advisor while she was married to Darnley. Before the marriage, Bothwell has to be divorced from Jean Gordon, sister of the Earl of Huntly.

15.06.1567 insurrection of the protestant Lords; the armies meet at Carberry Hill; deserted by many of her supporters, Mary has no alternative but to surrender. She is captured and jailed in Lochleven Castle, Kinross Shire. Bothwell flees to Scandinavia, is captured by the Danes, and jailed till his death in 1576 without ever seeing his wife again

02.05.1568 Mary flees from Lochleven Castle

13.05.1568 with the aid of the Hamilton faction, Mary musteres a large army in opposition to Moray, her half- brother and proclaimed regent. The opposing forces clash at langside near Glasgow. Both sides are numerically even, but Moray's troops are better armed and led. From a nearby hill, mAry watches the battle, which is short but decisive. As her supporters flee in disarray, Mary rides south to England and asks Elizabeth I, her cousin, for asylum. Elizabeth jails her in changing locations for 19 years, because Mary has a claim to the English Crown (through her grandmother Margaret Tudor). one of the greatest disappointments for Mary during her 19 years in England is her inability to communicate with her son James as he grows to manhood. Brought up as a strict Protestant and taught to hate his mother as the murderer of his father, he does nothing to help her.

08.02.1587 after the Babington plot in which Catholic supporters of Mary attempt to kill Elizabeth I, Mary is executed at the age of 44 in Fotheringhay, Northamptonshire. The executioner is unable to cut her head off with one blow and needs a grinding motion to fulfill his bloody job. Mary is buried in the Cathedral of Peterborough.

1612 Mary's son James VI of Scotland and I of England arranges that her body is moved to Henry VII's chapel at Westminster, where it still lies

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