Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary, Queen of Scots, daughter of James V. and Mary of Lorraine, born at Linlithgow, became by her father's death queen ere she was a week old; her early childhood was spent on an island in the Lake of Menteith; she was sent to France in 1548, brought up at court with the royal princes, and married to the dauphin in 1558, who for a year, 1559-60, was King Francis II.; on his death she had to leave France; she returned to assume the government in Scotland, now in the throes of the Reformation; refraining from interference with the Protestant movement she retained her own Catholic faith, but chose Protestant advisers; out of many proposed alliances she elected, against all advice, to be married to her cousin Darnley 1565, and easily quelled the insurrection that broke out under Moray; Darnley, granted the title king, tried to force her to settle the succession in the event of her dying childless on him and his heirs; deeming her favourite Rizzio to stand in the way, he plotted with the Protestant Lords to have him murdered, and Mary was reduced to agree to his demands; the murder was done; the queen was for a time a prisoner in Holyrood, but she succeeded in detaching Darnley, and the scheme fell through; her only son, afterwards James VI., was born three months later in 1566; the murder of Darnley took place in February 1567, being accomplished by Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, almost certainly with Mary's connivance; her marriage with Bothwell in May alienated the nobles; they rose, took the queen prisoner at Carberry, carried her to Edinburgh, then to Loch Leven, where they forced her to abdicate in July; next year, escaping, she fled to England, and was there for many years a prisoner; Catholic plots were formed to liberate her and put her in place of Elizabeth on the English throne (she was next in order of succession, being great-granddaughter of Henry VII.); at last she was accused of complicity in Babbington's conspiracy, tried, found guilty, and executed in Fotheringhay Castle, February 8, 1587; faithful to her religion to the end; she was a woman of great beauty and charm, courage and ability, warm affection and generous temper (1542-1587).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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