fbpx
The Tudor Society

7 August – Mary, Queen of Scots sets off for a new life in France

On this day in Tudor history, 7th August 1548, five-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots set sail from Dumbarton in Scotland bound for France.

A marriage had been agreed between Mary and Francis, the Dauphin, so Mary was going to be brought up at the French court. Mary travelled with her maids of honour, the Four Marys, or the Queen's Maries: Mary Fleming, Mary Beaton, Mary Seton and Mary Livingston.

Find out more in today's talk.

Mary, Queen of Scots playlist:

Also on this day in history, 7th August 1485, Henry Tudor, the soon-to-be King Henry VII, returned from exile, landing at Mill Bay in Wales. His intention was, of course, to claim the throne of England and to depose King Richard III. Find out more about his landing and what he did next, in last year’s video:

Also on this day in history:

  • 1514 – Peace treaty signed between England and France, arranging the marriage of the widowed fifty-two year old Louis XII of France and the eighteen year-old Princess Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII.
  • 1541 – Death of Sir Richard Weston, courtier and father of Sir Francis Weston who was executed in 1536 for alleged adultery with Queen Anne Boleyn. Richard served Henry VII as Groom of the Chamber and Henry VIII as an Esquire of the Body, Governor of Guernsey and treasurer of Calais. He was buried in Holy Trinity Church, Guildford.
  • 1574 - Birth of Sir Robert Dudley, mariner, cartographer and landowner, at Sheen House, Richmond. He was the illegitimate son of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester and favourite of Elizabeth I, and his lover Lady Douglas Sheffield, daughter of William Howard, 1st Baron Howard of Effingham, and widow of John Sheffield, 2nd Baron Sheffield. Dudley is known for his 1594 expedition to the West Indies, and for his publication of the maritime encyclopaedia “Dell'Arcano del Mare”.
  • 1600 – Burial of Sir Thomas Lucy in the parish church at Charlecote, Warwickshire. Lucy was a magistrate and member of Parliament, but is best known for his links with William Shakespeare. Tradition has it that Shakespeare wrote a satirical ballad about Lucy, or he made a caricature of him in the character of Judge Shallow, as revenge after he was judged too harshly for poaching on Lucy's estate, Charlecote Park. There is no evidence to support this story.
  • 1613 – Death of Sir Thomas Fleming, Solicitor-General to Elizabeth I and James I, at Stoneham Park. He also served James I as Chief Justice of the King's Bench. He was buried at North Stoneham Church.

Transcript:

On this day in Tudor history, 7th August 1548, five-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots set sail from Dumbarton in Scotland bound for France.

A marriage had been agreed between Mary and Francis, the Dauphin, so Mary was going to be brought up at the French court. Mary arrived at Saint-Pol-de-Léon, near Roscoff in Brittany, just over a week later.

Mary was the daughter of King James V and Marie de Guise, and she’d become Queen of Scotland on 14th December 1542, when she was just six days old, following the death of her father. The Earl of Arran and then her mother acted as regents for her.

In 1543, the infant Mary had been betrothed to the English Prince Edward, the future King Edward VI, by the terms of the Treaty of Greenwich, but it was subsequently renounced by the Scots. This led to the War of the Rough Wooing between England and Scotland and on 10th September 1547, Scotland was decisively defeated by the English force at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh. This led to the Scots renewing their auld alliance with France and in early 1548 Henry II of France came to terms with Scotland, one of the terms being the marriage of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Henry’s eldest son, Francis. It was agreed that Mary would be sent to be educated in France and on this day in 1548, Mary set off from Dumbarton. She was accompanied by the Four Marys, or Queen’s Maries, as they came to be called, her maids of honour: Mary Fleming, Mary Beaton, Mary Seton and Mary Livingston, who were all similar in age to Mary.

Henry II was delighted with Mary, even though she didn’t speak French, and it appears that she got on well with her future bridegroom. The French royal family provided her with an excellent education, including French, Latin, music, singing, dancing and needlework. Mary and Francis married in April 1558 and in July 1559 Mary became Queen of France, as well as Queen of Scotland, following the death of King Henry II and the accession of Francis as Francis II. Her time as Francis’s queen consort was brief though, as Francis died in December 1560. By the time she left France to return to Scotland in the summer of 1561, she’d spent 13 years at the French court, and her formative years too, and so must have been more French than Scottish in her ways, and she was obviously close to her Guise relatives in France and the friends she’d made there. It must have been a wrench for her to leave and return to her home country, a country she really was not familiar with now.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

7 August – Mary, Queen of Scots sets off for a new life in France