Princess Mary Stuart was born on December 8, 1542, at Linlithgow Palace, Scotland, into the royal family of Scotland. Her parents were King James V and his second wife, Mary of Guise, who belonged to the royal family of France. Princess Mary was half Scottish and half French. She was born prematurely and was the only legitimate child of James V to survive him. She was also the great-niece of King Henry VIII of England, as her paternal grandmother, Margaret Tudor, was Henry’s older sister. When James V passed away suddenly, a six-day-old Mary was declared the Queen of Scotland. Her life was short but extremely eventful and fascinating.
December 8, 1542
February 8, 2022 (age 479)
Mary Stuart, also known as Mary, Queen of Scots or Mary I of Scotland, was born on December 8, 1542, to James V, the King of Scotland, and his French wife. She was the only surviving child of James V and ascended the throne after his unsuspected demise when she was just six days old. She was executed on February 8, 1587, at the age of 44.
She was Queen of Scotland from December 1542 until her forced abdication in 1567. Scotland was governed by regents when she was a child; first by the Earl of Arran, James Hamilton, who was also an heir to the throne, and afterward by Mary of Guise, her mother. Princess Mary was sent to France at the age of five by her mother who wanted to ensure her safety from the English forces. Princess Mary grew up at the court of King Henry II and his queen, Catherine de Médicis. In 1548, she was betrothed to Francis, the heir, or as he was called, Dauphin of France. They married in April 1558, and she became the Queen Consort of France. She held this position from his accession in 1558 until he died in 1560.
In 1561, after the death of her husband, Mary returned to Scotland. She ascended the throne and governed as the Catholic monarch of a Protestant kingdom. The initial years of her rule were considered pragmatic, tolerant, and moderate. She even issued a proclamation accepting the religious settlement in Scotland. In 1565, she married her half-cousin Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, and in June of 1566, they had a son named James. In 1567, her second husband was found murdered in the garden following some disturbance at his palace. However, the following month, Mary married James Hepburn, who was accused of the murder. She was imprisoned in 1568 and beheaded the following year after she was found guilty of conspiring to arrange the assassination of Queen Elizabeth I of England.
As per the Treaty of Greenwich, Mary is to marry Prince Edward and move to England at the age of 10, where his father, King Henry VIII, would oversee her upbringing.
In December, her husband succumbs to an ear infection that creates an abscess in his brain.
While still in mourning, Mary meets her England-born half-cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, and falls in love with him.
Queen Elizabeth I of England signs her death warrant after she is held guilty of plotting to assassinate Elizabeth I.
Why We Love Mary Queen of Scots
She was versatile
Mary was a favorite at the French court; she was a good entertainer and could play the lute and virginals well. Her maternal grandmother paid her all the necessary attention. Extremely effervescent, gorgeous, and clever, she had a bright future ahead of her.
She was educated
She was educated and eloquent in literature, horse riding, hunting, and needlework. She was also fluent in six languages. Antoinette de Bourbon, her maternal grandmother, was yet another strong influence on her during her early years. She was also one of Mary’s primary mentors.
She is a legend in Scotland
Mary, Queen of Scots, is perhaps the most fascinating and best-known figure in Scotland's royal history. Her life had been far more dramatic than any other legend. Her bravery during her execution made a significant contribution to her popular image as the courageous victim in a dramatic tragedy.
5 Surprising Facts
She became a political pawn
Mary was betrothed to Henry VIII’s only son when she was five, to secure a political alliance with Scotland to distance it from France.
She was controversial
While imprisoned, she attracted a great deal of attention as a figurehead for the Catholic cause in England.
Elizabeth didn't want her executed
Queen Elizabeth I was reluctant to sign a death warrant for the death of Mary, yet she gave in, and Mary was executed in 1587.
Her death was glamorous
Mary retained customary glamor on her execution day, donning crimson brown velvet petticoats and slippers, as a symbol of martyrdom in those times.
Her possessions were burnt
To stop Mary from becoming a martyr, all of her possessions were set on fire so that onlookers could not take any memorabilia.
Mary Queen of Scots FAQs
What were the last words of Mary?
At the time of her beheading, Mary knelt on the padding in front of the frame on which she rested her head and stretched her arms out. “In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum” were her final words. In English, these words mean: “Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.”
Was Lola a real person?
In the 2013 to 2017 C.W. television series, “Reign,” the character of Lady Lola Fleming, played by Anna Popplewell, is based on Mary.
Was Mary friends with Queen Elizabeth?
Queen Elizabeth I of England and Mary, Queen of Scots, two of the greatest queens, never met even once.
Mary Queen of Scots’s birthday dates