Scottish Monarch. French Monarch. Born the daughter of King James V of Scotland and Mary of Guise at Linlithgow Palace, Scotland. James died within a week of Mary's birth and she was crowned queen of Scots. In 1548, Mary sailed to France after the Scots Parliament agreed to her marriage with Francis, heir to Henry II. In 1558, she married the Dauphin in Notre Dame Cathedral. Later that year, Mary I of England died and Henry II encouraged his daughter-in-law to assume the royal arms of England, a move her cousin Elizabeth I never forgot. In 1559, Henry II died and Mary and Francis were crowned Queen and King of France. In 1560 Francis died. Mary returned to Scotland on in August 1561. Politically naïve, she proceeded with her rule without a real sense of whom she was ruling. She attempted to strengthen the power of the Crown against Scotland's notoriously difficult nobles and made many enemies as a result. In July 1565, she married her cousin Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley who was regarded as weak and vain. They had one son. In 1567 Darnley's house, Kirk o' Field, was destroyed and Darnley strangled. The Earl of Bothwell, one of her contentious nobles, met the queen with 600 men and apparently forced her into marriage three months after Danley's death. With the nobility arrayed against her new husband, Mary was taken to Lochleven Castle and held prisoner. There, she was forced to abdicate in favor of her one-year-old son, James. After ten months of captivity she escaped and set sail for England. She was confined upon her arrival in 1568. Elizabeth considered Mary's designs on the English throne to be a serious threat. Mary would eventually became a liability that Elizabeth could no longer tolerate. Mary was involved in several plots to assassinate Elizabeth, to raise the Catholic North of England in rebellion, and to put herself on the throne. After being involved in the Babington plot, part of which included her giving the go-ahead to assassinate Elizabeth, Mary was tried, found guilty of treason and condemned by a court of 40 noblemen. Mary was executed at Fotheringhay Castle but the execution was badly carried out. She endured at least two strokes with an ax before her head was removed. Her little dog crawled out from under her petticoat where he had been hidden and he could not be coaxed away from her body and had to be carried away. Mary was initially buried at Peterborough Cathedral, but her body was exhumed in 1612 on the orders of her son, James I of England and was reinterred in Westminster Abbey only thirty feet from the grave of her cousin Elizabeth I.
Bio by: Iola