Mary (Stewart) Stuart Queen of Scots
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Mary (Stewart) Stuart Queen of Scots (1542 - 1587)

Born in Linlithgow Palace, Linlithgow, West Lothian, Scotlandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married 24 Apr 1558 (to 5 Dec 1560) in Paris, Francemap
Wife of — married 29 Jul 1565 (to 10 Feb 1567) in Holyrood, Scotlandmap
Wife of — married 15 May 1567 (to 14 Apr 1578) in Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh, Midlothian Scotlandmap
Descendants descendants
Died at age 44 in Fotheringhay, Northamptonshire, Englandmap
Profile last modified | Created 11 Feb 2013 | Last significant change: 7 Dec 2022
18:24: Ellen Altenburg edited the Biography for Mary (Stewart) Stuart Queen of Scots (1542-1587). (Bio improvement. ) [Thank Ellen for this]
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Scottish Nobility
Mary (Stewart) Stuart Queen of Scots was a member of Scottish Nobility.
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Discuss: Scotland
Preceded by
James V
Queen of Scots
14 December 1542 - 24 July 1567
Succeeded by
James VI



The House of Stewart crest.
Mary (Stewart) Stuart Queen of Scots is a member of the House of Stewart.
Mary (Stewart) Stuart Queen of Scots is a member of Clan Stewart.

Mary Stuart was born 8 December 1542, at Linlithgow Palace, West Lothian, Scotland. She was the daughter of James V of Scotland and his second wife Mary of Guise. She was baptised at the Church of St. Michael. She had two older brothers, James Stewart and Robert or Arthur Stewart. Both brothers died in infancy in 1541. James V died on 14 December 1542, and Mary ascended to the throne of Scotland at the age of six days.[1][2][3][4]

John Knox recorded that on hearing that his wife had given birth to a girl, James said:

"The devill go with it! It will end as it begane: it came from a woman; and it will end in a woman."[5]

This statement is in reference to his belief that the Stewarts accession to the throne was through Marjorie Bruce, and the end of the Stewart dynasty with Mary Queen of Scots. After her birth, there were rumors that she was premature, and likely not to live. However the English ambassador, Ralph Sadler, wrote ""it is as goodly a child as I have seen of her age, and as like to live." [6]

The were two claims as to who should be regent until Mary was of age. One was from Cardinal Beaton, and another by the heir to the throne, James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Arran. Arran was chosen as regent of Mary on 22 December 1542 by Parliament.[7][8] In January 1543 he stripped Catholic Cardinal David Beaton from the office of chancellor. He announced that he was adopting the protestant faith.[9] He also welcomed the English ambassador, Sir Ralph Sadler, and indicated his support for a treaty between Scotland and England which would be the result of a marriage between the infant Mary and Prince Edward.[10]

Arran was not popular with the nobles, and at a convention at Stirling in June 1554 it was resolve that her mother, Mary of Guise, would take over regency. Arran ignored the act. As Scotland was now at war with England, it was suggested th Queen Mary be removed to France. On 12 April 1554, Arran consented to abdicate.

discharge of Arran


Mary was married three times, with the last union eventually leading to her downfall.

Francis II, King of France

On 24 Apr 1558 Mary I, Queen of Scots married Dauphin Francois (later to become Francois II of France) at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France.[11] Francis was the eldest son of French King Henry II and Catherine de Medicis. In 1559, Mary's husband was crowned Francis II, making Mary both the queen of Scotland and France's queen consort. Francis died from an ear infection the year after he ascended to the throne, leaving Mary a widow at age 18.

Following Francis’s death, Mary returned to Scotland from France in 1561. By that time, John Knox's influence had changed Scotland's official religion from Catholicism to Protestantism.

As a Roman Catholic raised in France, Mary found herself an outsider. However, with help from her illegitimate half-brother, James, Earl of Moray, Mary managed to rule while creating an atmosphere of religious tolerance.

Henry Stewart, Earl of Darnley

In 1565 Mary married her second husband, her cousin, Henry Stuart Lord Darnley, a grandson of Margaret Tudor. Mary uniting with a Tudor infuriated Elizabeth Tudor. Her marriage to Darnley also turned Mary's half-brother against her. Darnley’s ruthless ambition caused problems. In 1566 Darnley and a group of Protestant nobles viciously murdered David Rizzio, Mary's Italian secretary, stabbing him 56 times as a pregnant Mary looked on. Though she gave birth to their son a few months later, she no longer wished to be married to Darnley. When Darnley was mysteriously killed following an explosion at Kirk o' Field, outside Edinburgh, in February 1567, foul play was suspected. Mary's involvement is unclear.

James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell

In May 1567 Mary married her third husband, James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, the main suspect in her previous husband Darnley’s murder. Over the years, Bothwell had become a close confidant of Mary and was said to exert great influence over her. He also had his own ambitions to become king, and he had abducted Mary and held her captive in Dunbar Castle. Mary’s marriage with Bothwell, just three months after Darnley’s murder, made the Scottish nobility rise against her. Bothwell went into exile, where he was arrested and held captive until his death. In July 1567, Mary was forced to abdicate the throne in Scotland in favour of her infant son. She was imprisoned in Lochleven Castle.


On 19 Jun 1566, Mary gave birth to James Charles Stuart, the future James VI of Scotland and James I of England. James was Mary’s only child, conceived with her second husband, Henry Stewart.

Claim to the English Throne and Imprisonment by Elizabeth I

As the great-granddaughter of King Henry VII, Mary had a strong claim to the English throne. Her French father-in-law, Henry II, made this claim on her behalf. But Mary never became the queen of England.

In November 1558, Henry VIII's daughter, Elizabeth Tudor, became Queen Elizabeth I of England following the death of her sister, Mary Tudor. Many Roman Catholics did not recognize the validity of Henry VIII's marriage to Elizabeth's mother, Anne Boleyn, and they considered Elizabeth's rule to be illegitimate.

In 1568, Mary escaped from Lochleven Castle, where she was imprisoned by the Scottish nobility for her unseemly marriage with Bothwell. She raised an army but was soon defeated. She fled to England, where she sought Elizabeth's protection. Instead of helping her cousin, the queen imprisoned Mary. Mary's captivity would last for 19 years.[12]

English Catholics plotted to get Mary, a Catholic herself, onto the throne by assassinating Elizabeth. Mary was involved in several plots to raise the Catholic North of England in rebellion. Mary corresponded with one such plotter, Anthony Babington. When Elizabeth's spymaster uncovered the letters in 1586, Mary was brought to trial. She was found guilty of treason and condemned to death by a court of 40 noblemen.

Mary, Queen of Scots' Death

After Elizabeth signed her cousin's death warrant for treason, Mary was executed 8 Feb 1587 in Fotheringhay Castle, Northamptonshire. She was 44 years old. Elizabeth had Mary buried at Peterborough Cathedral. After Mary's son became King James I of England, he moved his mother's body to Westminster Abbey in 1612, only thirty feet from the grave of her cousin Elizabeth I.

Research Notes


  1. Dunbar, Archibald. Scottish Kings; A Revised Chronology of Scottish history, 1005-1625. Edinburgh,Scotland. 1889, pp. Accessed 3 Dec 2022.
  2. A Diurnal of Remarkable Coccurents that have Passed within the Country of Scotland since the Death of King James the Fourth till the Year M.D.LXXV. Edinburgh. M.D.CCC.XXXIII. p. 25. Accessed 21 Nov 2022
  3. "Preface," in Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 18 Part 1, January-July 1543, ed. James Gairdner and R H Brodie (London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1901), i-liii. British History Online, accessed December 1, 2022, British History Online Accessed 1 Dec 2022
  4. Paul, James. The Scots Peerage: founded on Wood's edition of Sir Robert Douglas's The Peerage of Scotland. Edinburgh. 1904. Vol I. pp. 25-26. Accessed 3 Dec 2022
  5. John Knox: Works of John Knox, vol. 1 (of 6) - christian classics ethereal library. p. 91, 93 . Christian Classics Ethereal Library Accessed November 24, 2022
  6. Sadler, Ralph. The state papers and letters of Sir Ralph Sadler, knight-banneret. Edinburgh. 1809. Vol. 1, pp. 87-88. Accessed 4 Dec 2022.
  7. The Records of the Parliaments of Scotland to 1707, K.M. Brown et al eds (St Andrews, 2007-2022), 1543/3/1. Records of the Parliaments of Scotland Accessed 4 Dec 2022
  8. Miscellany of the Maitland Club. The Hamilton Papers. Glasgow: 1847, vol. 4, pt. 1, p. 64 The Hamilton Papers Accessed 4 Dec 2022
  9. Merriman, Marcus. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, entry for Hamilton, James, second earl of Arran and duke of Chatelherault in the French nobility (pub. 23 Sep 2004, rev. 25 Sep 2014), Oxford Dictionary of the National Biography.
  10. Dunlop, Robert. Dictionary of National Biography, vol 24. Entry for Dictionary of the National Biography.
  11. Notre Dame Cathedral : April 24, 1558 Mary I, Queen of Scots married Dauphin Francois (later to become Francois II of France)
  12. Fraser, Antonia; Mary, Queen of Scots; (Delacorte Press; New York; 1969); pg. 368; available to borrow online; accessed 12 Jun 2021
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Comments: 12

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I'm going to be working on this profile for the Scotland Projects Managed Profiles team in the near future. Will be adding research notes as I am finishing up on her father's profile.
posted by Ellen Altenburg
Hello Profile Managers!

We are featuring this profile in the Connection Finder this week. Between now and Wednesday is a good time to take a look at the sources and biography to see if there are updates and improvements that need made, especially those that will bring it up to WikiTree Style Guide standards. We know it's short notice, so don't fret too much. Just do what you can.



posted by Abby (Brown) Glann
he name was spelt the French way Stuart
April 24, 1558 Mary I, Queen of Scots, married Dauphin Francois, later to become Francois II of France at Notre Dame Cathedral. This information is on the page for Notre Dame. Please can the information be added and

Notre Dame

be put in for the "Notre Dame" to connect the link?

also this information was found at: History and Events of Notre Dame de Paris,

posted by Lisa (Kelsey) Murphy
Source: Source: Douglas Richardson. Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols, ed. Kimball G. Everingham (Salt Lake City: the author, 2013), volume I, page 676 BRUS 16iii.

Mary Of Scotland, married (1st) 24 April 1558 Francois Of France, son of Henri II, King of France. They had no issue. She married (2nd) 29 July 1565 Henry Stewart, son of Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox , by Margaret, daughter of Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus, He was born 7 Dec. 1545. They had one son, James [VI, King of Scots, afterwards James I, King of England]. Henry, died 10 Feb. 1566/7. Mary, married (3rd) 15 May 1567 (as his 2nd wife) James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell. He was probably born in or before 1515.

Thank you!

Source: Douglas Richardson. Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols, ed. Kimball G. Everingham (Salt Lake City: the author, 2013), volume I, page 668 BRUS 15.
  • continued comment

James IV, King of Scots, was slain at the Battle of Flodden 9 Sept. 1513. His widow, Margaret, married (2nd) 6 August 1514 (as his 2nd wife) Archibald Douglas, son of George Douglas, by Elizabeth, daughter of John Drummond. He was born about 1490. They had one daughter, Margaret. They were divorced 11 March 1527/8. Margaret married (3rd) Henry Stewart. He was born about 1495. They had no issue. Margaret Tudor, Queen Dowager of Scotland, died 18 October 1541. Following her death, Henry [Stewart] married (2nd) his mistress, Janet Stewart.

Thank you!

Source: Douglas Richardson. Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols, ed. Kimball G. Everingham (Salt Lake City: the author, 2013), volume I, page 668 BRUS 15.

James IV of Scotland, King of Scots, born in Edinburgh 17 March 1472/3. He married 8 August 1503 Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII, King of England, by Elizabeth, daughter of Edward IV, King of England. They had five sons, James (1st of name), Arthur, James [2nd of name] [James V, King of Scots], ____, and Alexander [Duke of Ross], and one daughter, ____.

  • continued in next comment