Portrait of Mary Queen of Scots
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Mary Queen of Scots Facts

Mary I, Queen of England (Mary Tudor) is sometimes confused with Mary, Queen of Scots.

Who Was Mary Queen of Scots?


Mary, Queen of Scots(1542-1587) who is also famous as Queen Mary I or Mary Stuart was the daughter of Scotland’s King James V and his French wife Mary de Guise. Shortly after her birth in 1542, the king died, and Mary, at only six days old became queen. She then was the Queen of Scotland from 1542 to July 1567.

Portrait of Mary Queen of Scots
Portrait of Mary Queen of Scots

Early Life

After the death of her father, Mary’s great uncle Henry VIII made some provisions to bid for control of throne and Mary but her mother acted as a regent on her behalf and was saved.

At the age of five, she was officially betrothed to Edward, the son of Henry VIII. This agreement was broken by Mary’s Catholic guardians as Edward, being Henry’s son was of the Protestant faith. When this match was cancelled, Scotland was attacked by England in many raids which then became popular as “The Rough Wooing”.

Then Mary was sent to the French court by her mother to be raised in the luxurious Court of France As her mother was French and Scotland had good alliances with France, Mary was betrothed to the French -Heir who was four years old.

Who were the Parents of Mary Queen of Scots?

Mary, Queen of Scots was the daughter of James V of Scotland and his wife Mary of Guise.


Mary, Queen of Scots did not have any siblings except two illegitimate half-brothers – James Stewart and Robert Stewart. She was also accompanied to the court with four other girls who were all named Mary. They were the daughters of some royal families of Scotland.

Mary Queen of Scots
Mary queen of scots

How was Mary, Queen of Scots related to Elizabeth?

Mary and Elizabeth were related to each other in a complicated way. Henry VII of England had eight children, two of whom were Henry VIII and Margaret Tudor. Margaret was married to King James IV of Scotland. Their son was James V.

Mary, Queen of Scots was the daughter of James V. Elizabeth I was the daughter of Henry VIII. Hence, technically, Elizabeth was the aunt of Mary.

Why was Mary Queen of Scots called Bloody Mary? Are Mary Queen of Scots and Bloody Mary the same?

No, they are different people. Queen Mary I of England is the bloody Mary.

Mary Facts

Mary was the cousin of Elizabeth I, despite being Scotland’s queen she also had a valid claim on the English throne. Following her marriage to the Earl of Bothwell Mary was exiled from Scotland as the Scottish nobility raised arms against her.

They forced her to abdicate the throne in 1567, leaving her to flee to England and seek help from her royal cousin. She gained her reputation as a ruthless plotter and schemer by trying to depose Elizabeth from her throne and take it, and England for herself.

Elizabeth I and Mary I
Elizabeth I and Mary I

Spouses and Children of Mary

Queen Mary (Bloody Mary) had married three times. Her first marriage was with Francis who was the eldest son of King Henry II and Catherine de Medicis in 1558. A year after his marriage her husband was crowned as the king. But in 1560, he died of an ear infection which left Mary just at the age of 18 to be widowed.

In 1565 she returned to Scotland which was now turned to Catholics and hence she felt an outsider there. Hence with the help of her illegal half brother James who was Earl of Moray, she managed to rule somehow.

Later in 1565, Mary married her cousin Henry Stewart who was the Earl of Darnley and grandson of Margaret Tudor. Hence when Mary merged with Tudor, it enraged  Elizabeth Tudor. As Darnley has many cold-blooded ambitions, it created problems in her marriage life too. This resulted in their separation soon after the birth of their son.

Mary had only one child with Henry Stewart who was James VI, the future king of Scotland. He was born on June 19, 1566.

Her final marriage was in May 1567 to the Earl of Bothwell, James Hepburn. Mary, Queen of Scots (Bloody Mary) marries the same person who was the prime suspect in the murder of her previous husband.  James desired to become a king due to which he also abducted Mary and captivated her in Dunbar castle.

As Mary married Bothwell just in three months of her previous marriage, it made the noblemen of Scottish rise against her and Bothwell both. Due to which Bothwell was sent to exile and Mary was imprisoned in the Lochleven Castle.

Legend and Death

When was she Captured?

Elizabeth was unwilling to believe that her cousin was trying to steal her throne. Elizabeth was forced to have her imprisoned when Mary arrived in England. Mary was kept under heavy surveillance in order that the throne is kept safe. She was imprisoned for nineteen years before Elizabeth was presented with concrete evidence that Mary had really plotted against her.

How did Bloody Mary die?

Mary was indeed plotting against her, as letters to Anthony Babington who was known to plot against the queen were intercepted by Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth’s spymaster. Mary was sent to trial in 1586 and was executed on February 8th, 1587 at Fotheringhay Castle.

The Abdication of Mary Queen of Scots in 1568
The Abdication of Mary Queen of Scots in 1568

Her son accepted his mother’s execution with calmness and later after the death of Queen Elizabeth, he was Crowned to the throne of England, Ireland, and Scotland in 1603.

Where is Mary, Queen of Scotland buried?

Mary was buried at Westminster Abbey which is the place of burial of most royalties, noblemen as well as a lot of famous people in Europe.


Mary was still a subject of fascination for centuries even after her death. Many movies and short films are made based on her life and character. One such film was made in 1971 titled as “Mary, Queen of Scots”, that has actors Vanessa Redgrave playing the role of Mary and Glenda Jackson as Queen Elizabeth I and Timothy Dalton as Henry Stewart who was the Earl of Darnley.

Another Swiss-French movie that was based on the life of Mary was made in 2013. After that in 2018 movie titled as ” Mary Queen of Scots”  starring Saoirse Ronan as Mary and Margot Robbie playing the role of Queen Elizabeth I, was picturized.

A T.V show named as “Reign on THE CW” was inspired from the life of Mary that was popular from 2013 to 2017.

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