Mary Stuart

[Mary Stuart] Queen of Scots, born Linlithgow, Scotland, 1542; died Fotheringay, England, 1587. She succeeded her father James V when only six days old. She was educated in France and married the Dauphin Francis, becoming queen consort in 1559. Within a year Francis died and Mary returned to Scotland, August, 1561. During her residence abroad Protestantism had made rapid progress in Scotland, Church property had been confiscated and Knox's followers were filled with frenzied hatred of Catholicism. She consequently issued an edict; of toleration, the first in Great Britain. A little later, despite a Protestant revolt abetted by Queen Elizabeth she married her cousin Henry, Lord Darnley, nearest heir after her to the English crown. Darnley proved quarrelsome, immoral, and intensely jealous of her secretary Rizzio, whose assassination he procured. Shortly after the birth of his son James VI, he himself was murdered at the instigation of Mary's adviser Bothwell, whom she soon married. A new rebellion broke out thereupon; Mary was imprisoned in Lochleven Castle, but escaped, and after her followers had been defeated at Langside, 1568, fled to England, where she was imprisoned for life by Elizabeth. More than once her sympathizers planned to release her, although Elizabeth's life was never in peril despite the legends accepted by many Protestant writers. In 1586 Mary was accused of complicity in Babington's conspiracy and executed, the main motive for such punishment being hatred of her religion.

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