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Mary Stuart
François Clouet - Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-87) - Google Art Project.jpg
Portrait by François Clouet, c. 1558–1560
Queen of Scotland
Reign 14 December 1542 – 24 July 1567
Coronation 9 September 1543
Predecessor James V
Successor James VI
Regents James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Arran
Mary of Guise
Queen consort of France
Tenure 10 July 1559 – 5 December 1560
Born 8 December 1542
Linlithgow Palace, Kingdom of Scotland
Died 8 February 1587(1587-02-08) (aged 44)
Fotheringhay Castle, Kingdom of England
Burial 30 July 1587
Peterborough Cathedral
28 October 1612
Westminster Abbey
Issue James VI and I
House Stuart
Father James V of Scotland
Mother Mary of Guise
Religion Roman Catholic
Signature Mary Stuart's signature

Mary, Queen of Scots (8 December 1542 – 8 February 1587), was Queen of Scotland from 14 December 1542 until 24 July 1567, when she was forced to give up her kingdom.

Early life

Mary was the daughter of King James V of Scotland, who died just after she was born. She was crowned queen when she was only 6 days old.

She married three times. Her first husband was King Francis II of France. They were both young when they were married as part of an alliance between their countries. They had no children. Francis died from an ear infection that had spread to his brain, leaving Mary a widow shortly before her 18th birthday.

Reign in Scotland

When Mary returned to Scotland after spending her youth in France, she found that she was not popular in her kingdom. She had been brought up as a Catholic, but many people in Scotland had become Protestant. It was difficult for Mary to avoid siding with either the Catholics or the Protestants. As Mary was now free to marry again, there were lots of noblemen who wanted to become her husband. For her second husband, she chose an English lord named Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, who was of royal blood. Darnley was good-looking and charming, but he was often very childish, and he was jealous of Mary's secretary, an Italian named David Rizzio.

Mary became pregnant. When her baby was born, it was a boy, who would later become King James VI of Scotland.

A powerful Scottish nobleman, the Earl of Bothwell, was loyal to Mary and hated Darnley. He arranged for Darnley to be killed. He tried to make it look as though Darnley had been killed in a fire at his house, but everyone knew that Bothwell was behind the murder, and some people believed that Mary had also been part of the plot to kill her husband. Mary then agreed to marry the Earl of Bothwell. This was not a wise move, because Bothwell had many enemies. Mary's enemies forced her off the throne and made her young son king in her place. Mary was put in prison, but she escaped and crossed the border into England, which was ruled by her cousin, Elizabeth Queen of England.

Imprisonment and execution

Mary hoped that Elizabeth would help her to get her throne back, but Elizabeth did not. She kept Mary a prisoner for many years. Mary was eventually accused of making plans to murder Elizabeth. A jury of thirty noblemen convicted her of treason and she was executed.

Sometimes people think that even though Elizabeth signed the warrant, she gave instructions that some people could not understand. Elizabeth claimed that she did not sign the warrant and didn't give instructions for the execution.

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