Wednesday, August 19, 2009

On This Day in Tudor History:

On August 19, 1561, the 18-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots, arrived in Leith, Scotland to assume throne after spending 13 years in France.
Mary was the only surviving legitimate child of King James V. She was six days old when her father died and made her Queen of Scotland. Her mother, Mary of Guise, assumed regency and her daughter was crowned nine months later. She was sent to France for her upbringing and prepared for marriage to the dauphin.
In 1558, she married Francis, Dauphin of France, who ascended the French throne as Francis II in 1559. However, Mary was not Queen of France for long; she was widowed on 5 December 1560.
After her husband's death, Mary returned to Scotland, arriving in Leith on 19 August 1561. Four years later, she married her first cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. In 1567, Darnley was found dead and it was rumored that Mary conspired with her next husband, James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, in Darnley's murder.
Mary was imprisoned and forced to abdicate the throne in favour of her one-year-old son, James VI in June, 1567. After an unsuccessful attempt to regain the throne, Mary fled to England seeking protection from her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, whose kingdom she hoped to inherit. Elizabeth, however, ordered her arrest. Mary would continue to be a thorn in the protestant Queen Elizabeth's side because she was Catholic and a blood claimant to the throne of England. In 19 years of imprisonment in England, Mary never ceased to conspire with Catholics to depose Elizabeth and claim the English throne. It would be her undoing.
After a long period of custody in England, she was tried and executed for treason in 1587.

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