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Mary Queen of Scots's Biography

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Biography of Mary Queen of Scots: Her short but important life ended by execution by Queen Elizabeth I

Mary Queen of Scots was born on 8 December 1542 in Linlithgow Palace, Scotland at a time of great rivalry between the Protestants and the Catholics.

Not long before her birth the Scots had lost a devastating battle at Solway Moss, after Henry VIII of England has tried to persuade his nephew James V of Scotland to break with Catholicism.

Mary was the only child of James V of Scotland and his French wife, Mary of Guise, and became Queen when she was just days old upon the death of her father.

She was crowned Queen of Scots in the Chapel Royal, Stirling Castle, when she was just nine months old.

She was betrothed to Henry VIII's son, Edward, however, her mother and those close to her wanted to avoid this and at 5 years old Mary was sent to France to be looked after by her grandmother Antoinette of Guise.

In France, Mary was betrothed again - this time to Francis, the heir to the French crown, and in April 1558, they married.

In the same year, Queen Mary I of England died and Henry II of France championed the case for Mary Stuart, as she was also known, to be the next Queen of England.

This would lead to Elizabeth I always seeing Mary as a threat whilst she was still alive.

The following year Francis became King of France, however he died one year later and Mary was widowed at just 18.

She returned to Scotland.

In 1565, Mary married her cousin the Earl of Darnley. They had an unhappy relationship, which produced one son James, born in June 1566.

He would become James VI of Scotland and James I of England.

Just three months after Darnley's death, Mary married again, this time to Lord Bothwell.

Suspicions mounted that Bothwell was one of those behind Lord Darley's death and additionally many important noblemen turned against Mary and she was forced to abdicate in July 1567.

She was imprisoned in Lochleven Castle, and her infant son James was made king.

She escaped from Lochleven in 1568, only for her army to be defeated at the Battle of Langside near Glasgow.

Mary decided to head for England and seek to build bridges with her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, however the English queen remained suspicious of Mary and had her imprisoned in various locations for a total of 18 years.

Mary's captivity only ended upon her execution.

In October of 1586, Mary was put on trial at Fotheringhay for plotting to kill Elizabeth and claim the English throne, Mary denied the charge, stating: "I have not procured or encouraged any hurt against Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth."

However, it appeared a fait accompli that she would be found guilty and on 8 February 1587, Mary Queen of Scots was beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle.

Somewhat ironically, sixteen years later, her son James would be crowned King of England and Scotland.

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