Mary de Coucy
1st Franz II. of France
2nd Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley
3th James, Earl Bothwell
09/1543 in Stirling Castle
12/1542 to 08/1548
08/1561 to 1567
When James V. learned about the Birth of his Daughter Mary (born as Mary Stewart) on his Deathbed in December 1542, he is said to have said:
“It began with a lass, and it will end with a lass!”
He alluded to Marjorie Bruce, the Daughter of Robert I. who founded the Stuart Dynasty after her accession to the Throne, through her Marriage to Walter Stewart. He feared his Daughter would die childless, or marry a foreign Monarch, which would mean the end of the Stewarts.
After the Death of James V., the six-day-old Mary was now Queen and James Hamilton, Earl of Arran took over the office of Regent. As the Granddaughter of the english Princess Margaret Tudor she was also entitled to the english Throne, which is why it was agreed in July 1543 that she will be married in nine years with the Heir to the Throne Edward IV. and their descendants as a Personal Union over Scotland and England. Her Mother, Marie de Guise, eventually succeeded in crowning Mary in September 1543 at Stirling Castle with all the Insignia of Power, including the Royal Robe, which was tailored only to her Size. The english King Henry VIII., however, demanded that the ‘Auld Alliance’ be given up to France, whereupon the scottish Parliament decided to dissolve the treaty with England. The clashes with England flared up again.
Henry ordered Scotland to attack and kidnap Mary. However, Marie de Guise was able to prevent this by hiding her Daughter first in Stirling Castle and after a lost Battle in September 1547 in the Abbey of Inchmahome. Through the french Ambassador, she entered into an Alliance with King Henry II. of France and negotiated the Marriage of Mary with heir Francis II.
Time in Exile
In August 1548, the five-year-old Mary was brought by the french Fleet to France, where she changed her name to the french Variant Stuart. She was accompanied by her own little Court, consisting of two Lords, two half-brothers and the four Marys – a Group of Girls of the same Name, influential scottish Noble Family – more like a large Family, gave her a solid Framework in Life and before her Side stand.
There she got the, for the royal Household, usual training in several Languages -including her mother tongue Scots and Literary, as well as Arts Subjects. At the age of 15 Mary married in April 1558 heir to the Throne Francis II., who followed his Father a year later to the Throne. Mary was thus Queen of Scotland and France, but I ambition also wanted the english Throne, which had meanwhile been climbed by Henry’s Granddaughter Elizabeth I.
Her Force began to dwindle when her Mother Marie died in June 1560 and her Husband Franz II. died in December. France withdrew its Troops from England and Mary’s Mother-in-Law, with whom she had a very bad Relationship, ruled as Regent of France.
Retirn to Scotland
In August 1561 Mary returned as a young Widow to reformation Scotland.
She met her Half-Brother, the Regent and leading Protestant James Stewart, by not interfering with the religious Conditions of the Country, but reserved her catholic Faith. Her main concern was to agree with her Grand Cousin Elisabeth I. Over time, there were a number of conversational attempts that either failed, or did not even come about.
In 1563, Elizabeth tried to get rid of her Adversary by proposing to Mary her own favorite and confidant Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester as a Husband, which she refused.
Other Kings, Dukes and Earls also rejected her.
Instead, Mary made a mistake and fell in love with Henry Stewart, also known as Lord Darnley, whom she hurriedly married in July 1565. For this Marriage, she even accepted the Rebellion of her Half-Brother James and other scottish Lords, which was crushed within a few months and James went into exile with his Followers.
The Style and Manners of Lord Darnley repeatedly led to tension between the Spouses.
In addition, he demanded more and more Royal Rights in Parliament, where Mary gave him the royal Title Crown Matrimonial (equal royal Husband), but gave him no power and turned more to her Adviser David Rizzio. Out of jealousy, Lord Darnley joined leading Nobles, invaded Holyrood Palace with them in March 1566, killed Rizzo, and placed the Queen under House Arrest in Edinburgh. Mary proved political and wanted to wait for the birth of her Son and Heir to the Throne before she separated from Lord Darnley. After her Son was born in June 1566, she invited her Husband -who had fled from scottish Lords to his Father in Glasgow and was seriously ill- to Edinburgh and showed himself caring, giving the impression that they were approaching again. While the Queen was attending a Servant Wedding in February 1567, the House in which Lord Darnley was staying and he was found dead in the garden exploded. Since he had no Injuries and some Nobles had already conspired against him in November 1566, was quickly around, that he was already dead before.
Mary made more serious Mistakes.
In April 1567, she filed a lawsuit against James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell -the alleged mastermind of the assassination of Lord Darnley- in which he was acquitted. Then Mary was kidnapped by him, who divorced his Wife in May and traveled to Edinburgh a few days later with Mary. She publicly forgave him and abducted him. As a Result, their reputation reached a low point and it rose to a Rebellion, in which their abdication was required. Although she tried to get a grip on the situation, she was recently forced to surrender and abdicate to her Half-Brother James and was locked up in Loch Leven Castle.
A year later, Mary escaped with the help of a Guard and fled to England.
Why she just asked her Cousin Elisabeth I. for help, is still unclear. Apparently, between October 1558 and January 1559, Elisabeth had an Investigation into possible involvement in the Murder of Lord Darnley, but did not want a Conviction or an Acquittal. During the next 18 years of “honorable protective custody,” Elisabeth had been torn between the Reinstatement of Mary and her Execution. In addition, as Mary continued to refuse to end the alliance between Scotland and France, Elizabeth’s counselors were forced to act. They smuggled a Spy into Mary’s Environment, through which she was involved in several Plots against Elisabeth and she was sentenced to Death in October 1586 for High Treason. Elisabeth, however, delayed the Execution and signed the Death Sentence in February.
Mary I. was executed on 18 February 1587 (according to Today’s Calendar).
The process of Execution has been handed down:
She appeared like a Nun at the Execution site in a black Satin Dress lined with black Velvet.
On the Belt she wore two Rosaries. A white Veil covered her Hair. When she took off the Veil and the dark Outerwear at the scaffold, they saw a dark red Velvet Petticoat and a dark red satin bodice.
The red color was probably chosen consciously. In european Culture, red symbolized Martyrdom, Courage and royal Blood. Since the executioner was inexperienced and nervous, he needed three Hit´s with the Ax to separate Mary’s Head from the Body.
The first Blow hit the back of her Head. Because Mary showed no reaction, the first Blow probably already led to Unconsciousness or Death. Only after two more Strokes, the Head was separated from the Trunk.
According to a legend, the Executioner, when he wanted to hold up his Head after the Execution, only a Wig grabbed. The Head, with short-cropped gray Hair, fell down and rolled onto the Scaffold. Much is also quoted that the Queen’s Pet Dog had hidden in her Robes and after the Execution was bloodied from the Body removed.
In July 1587 she was buried in the Cathedral of Peterborough.
After her Son also ruled over England in Personal Union her Body was exhumed by his Order in September 1612 and buried in Westminster Abbey (nine meters from Elizabeth).
The life of Mary I. was filmed in 1971 with ‘Mary – Quenn of Scots’.
Excerpts can also be found in the Fim ‘Elisabeth’ from 1998 and ‘Elisabeth – The Golden Kingdom’ from 2007.
In 2004, the BBC released the two-parter ‘Maria Stuart – Blood, Terror and Betrayal’ (original Title: Gunpowder, Treason and Plot).