Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! As the holidays begin to wind down a bit (Yule was Monday Night/Tuesday) I thought I would share five things about Queen Mary Stuart of Scotland (1542 -1587) you probably did not know which I learned researching and writing “Mary Queen of the Scots” for the Legendary Women of World History Series.
- Queen Mary was born in December. The 8th of December to be exact. Upon learning of his daughter’s birth, King James V predicted the ruin of his dynasty because she was a girl instead of a boy.
- Queen Mary’s love of her life (as evidenced in the poetry she wrote in French), King Francis II of France was incapable of having children. As much as Mary loved him, too many generations of close marriage resulted in birth defects making children impossible for the happy couple. As dangerous as the political situation turned out for Mary after Francis’ death in 1560, had he lived longer the situation would have likely become far worse for Mary and for Scotland as a whole.
- Lord Darnley was the healthiest suitor to Queen Mary–but not her first choice. Understanding her duty to remarry following Francis’ death, Mary actually considered many possible suitors from across Europe. The 16th century royals however were especially plagued with health issues (including King Edward VI of England whom Henry VIII tried to force Mary to marry). Unwilling to marry beneath her class, Henry Stewart (also descended of Queen Consort Margaret Tudor) was Mary’s best chance at producing an heir.
- Protestant reformer John Knox was both her dangerous enemy and her friend. True to the complexities of Mary’s court and her life as a whole, Queen Mary found John Knox to be an amiable companion when hunting or shooting her bow despite his efforts to impose radical Protestantism onto Scotland and depose Mary as queen.
- Queen Mary’s return from France transformed Edinburgh Castle into the bright and beautiful place it is today. Prior to Queen Mary’s reign Edinburgh Castle was a cold, dark, and dreary place. This was in sharp contrast with the glittering palaces of Paris where she grew up and eventually reigned (briefly) as queen. Partially to make Edinburgh Castle a proper and comfortable home for herself, Mary commissioned numerous improvements, adding beauty and glamour that was previously absent in Scottish courts.
Learn more about Queen Mary Stuart in “Mary Queen of the Scots, the Forgotten Reign,” book three of the Legendary Women of World History Series. Available for kindle, Nook, iBookstore, and in paperback on Amazon, and at a retailer near you.
Biography includes comprehensive bibliography, extensive timeline, and translations of Roman Catholic prayers from Latin to English. Also available in French, German, Italian, Chinese, and Spanish. See https://bit.ly/2IWJeOB for links to non-English editions.