Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The birth of Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary, Queen of France and Queen of Scotland, also claiming the title Queen of England, was born on December 8, 1542 at Linlithgow Castle. Her father, James V was mortally ill after a resounding defeat by the English in November of that year. When hearing that his second wife, Mary of Guise had been delivered of a girl, he is said to have turned in face to the wall in bed, saying only "It came from a woman; it will end in a woman" referring to the Stewart claim to Scotland's throne.

Mary became Queen of Scotland as an infant, six days old. Her cousin, James Hamilton the Earl of Arran served as regent and arranged the marriage of Mary to Edward, Henry VIII's heir which would have led to the uniting of England and Scotland under Tudor rule. But Mary of Guise and other Catholic supporters opposed this treaty; they removed Mary to Stirling Castle and Parliament repudiated the agreement James Hamilton had made.

Henry VIII was then enraged and sent an army to invade and pillage Scotland--the "Rough Wooing" of 1544 that only strenthened the Scots' resolve to oppose the marriage. Eventually, a marriage was arranged between Mary and Francois, the Dauphin of France, and thus Mary went to live at the French Court, guided by her mother's family, the House of Guise.

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