Mary Queen of Scots Crowned
Barely a year old but already Queen of Scotland. Crowned while still in nappies at the Chapel Royal in Stirling Castle she was no ordinary child. And shouldering the burden as monarch of a country in turbulence, Mary Queen Of Scots was always going to be an embattled figure in history.
Scotland was in a crisis of succession. It had to be for a female to be crowned; parliament required that only male descendants of King Robert II could ascend to the throne unless the line of succession was bereft of males. But this unlikely scenario had arisen after the death of King James V . He did have two sons that were eligible for succession, but both died during infancy – his illegitimate sons included James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray, who would later play a key role in the Queen’s life.
James V’s death was a real blow for Scotland. He was only 30, and this child queen left Scotland vulnerable to English attentions. It was James V who renewed the Auld Alliance . Historically, Scotland’s relationship with the French was fraught with difficulties, and coalesced over the mutual threat of the English. But if James V’s extension of friendship to the French enraged England, it was his daughter’s hand in marriage that would lead the countries to war.
The Treaty Of Greenwich promised Mary to Edward , son of King Henry VIII . It was a move that was cordial on the surface, a union of the countries’ sovereignties, a family bond. But Henry VIII was an ambitious monarch with designs on Scotland, where there was a fair degree of opposition to the treaty among leading nobles. The Scottish ruling class could see where this was heading. Henry VIII was subverting the work of James V – the Auld Alliance was in peril. When the Scots reneged on the treaty, promising Mary’s hand to the Dauphin Francois, blood was shed.
The Rough Wooing began with raids on Scotland; this was the act of a wrathful monarch, and brought Scotland to the brink. The French came to the queen’s aid. Mary Queen of Scots was exiled to France. There she was safe. But the bloodshed continued in Scotland, and Mary’s safety was never permanent. Returning to Scotland was the beginning of the end.
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