Quick facts for kidsMary Stuart
Portrait by François Clouet, c. 1558–1560
|Queen of Scotland|
|Reign||14 December 1542 – 24 July 1567|
|Coronation||9 September 1543|
|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
Fotheringhay Castle, Kingdom of England
|Burial||30 July 1587
28 October 1612
|Issue||James VI and I|
|Father||James V of Scotland|
|Mother||Mary of Guise|
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.
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.
Images for kids
Mary (age 16) and Francis II (age 15) shortly after Francis was crowned King of France in 1559
Mary's royal arms from the Tolbooth in Leith (1565), now in South Leith Parish Church
Mary with her second husband, Lord Darnley
Mary depicted with her son, James VI and I; in reality, Mary saw her son for the last time when he was ten months old.
Tomb of Mary at Westminster Abbey by Cornelius and William Cure
Mary, Queen of Scots Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.