Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary, Queen of Scots (8 December 1542 – 8 February 1587), also known as Mary Stuart[3] or Mary I of Scotland, was Queen of Scotland from 14 December 1542 until her forced abdication in 1567.

Mary
Portrait by François Clouet, c. 1558–1560
Queen of Scotland
Reign14 December 1542 – 24 July 1567
Coronation9 September 1543
PredecessorJames V
SuccessorJames VI
Regents
Queen consort of France
Tenure10 July 1559 – 5 December 1560
Born8 December 1542[1]
Linlithgow Palace, Scotland
Died8 February 1587(1587-02-08) (aged 44)[2]
Fotheringhay Castle, England
Burial30 July 1587
Spouse
    (m. 1558; died 1560)
      (m. 1565; died 1567)
        (m. 1567; died 1578)
        IssueJames VI and I
        HouseStuart
        FatherJames V of Scotland
        MotherMary of Guise
        ReligionRoman Catholic
        Signature

        Mary, the only surviving legitimate child of King James V of Scotland, was six days old when her father died and she acceded to the throne. She spent most of her childhood in France while Scotland was ruled by regents, and in 1558, she married the Dauphin of France, Francis. Mary was queen consort of France from his accession in 1559 until his death in December 1560. Widowed, Mary returned to Scotland, arriving in Leith on 19 August 1561. Four years later, she married her half-cousin Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, and in June 1566 they had a son, James.

        In February 1567, Darnley's residence was destroyed by an explosion, and he was found murdered in the garden. James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, was generally believed to have orchestrated Darnley's death, but he was acquitted of the charge in April 1567, and the following month he married Mary. Following an uprising against the couple, Mary was imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle. On 24 July 1567, she was forced to abdicate in favour of her one-year-old son. After an unsuccessful attempt to regain the throne, she fled southward seeking the protection of her first cousin once removed Queen Elizabeth I of England.

        Mary had once claimed Elizabeth's throne as her own and was considered the legitimate sovereign of England by many English Catholics, including participants in a rebellion known as the Rising of the North. Perceiving Mary as a threat, Elizabeth had her confined in various castles and manor houses in the interior of England. After eighteen and a half years in custody, Mary was found guilty of plotting to assassinate Elizabeth in 1586, and was beheaded the following year at Fotheringhay Castle. Mary's life, marriages, lineage, alleged involvement in plots against Elizabeth, and subsequent execution established her as a divisive and highly romanticised historical character, depicted in culture for centuries.