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The Tudor Society

9 September – The coronation of Mary, Queen of Scots

On this day in Tudor history, 9th September 1543, the 30th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden, Mary, Queen of Scots, was crowned queen at the Chapel Royal of Stirling Castle. Mary was just nine months old.

Find out more about how Mary came to the throne, her coronation ceremony, in which Mary howled, and how she was already promised in marriage to Henry VIII's son, the future Edward VI, in today's talk.

You can find out more about Mary, Queen of Scots’ very eventful life in our Mary, Queen of Scots playlist:

Also on this day in Tudor history, 9th September 1513, while Catherine of Aragon was acting as regent for Henry VIII, who was campaigning in France, English and Scottish forces clashed at the bloody Battle of Flodden. The Scots were defeated and King James IV was killed, but what happened to his body? Find out in last year’s video:

Also on this day in history:

  • 1583 – Death of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, explorer, soldier, member of Parliament and half-brother of Sir Walter Ralegh, on board The Squirrel after a storm off the Azores. The crew of the Golden Hind heard Gilbert shout “We are as near to heaven, by sea as by land” as The Squirrel sank.

Transcript:

On this day in Tudor history, 9th September 1543, the 30th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden, which saw the death of her grandfather, King James IV, the infant Mary, Queen of Scots, was crowned queen at the Chapel Royal of Stirling Castle in a ceremony which was shortened due to her age.

Mary had been born on 8th December 1542 and was the daughter of King James V, King of Scotland, and his French wife, Marie de Guise. She was just six days old when she became queen on the death of her father on 14th December 1542 following the Scots’ defeat by the English at the Battle of Solway Moss.

Ralph Sadler and Henry Ray were underwhelmed by Mary’s coronation, writing that the little girl was crowned with “such solemnity as they do use in this country, which is not very costly”. At the coronation, James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Arran, who was regent, carried the crown, which was held over Mary’s little head by Cardinal Beaton; Matthew Stewart, Earl of Lennox and Mary’s future father-in-law, carried the sceptre, and Archibald Campbell, Earl of Argyll, who was Arran’s brother-in-law and the most powerful Scottish lord, bore the sword of state.

Cardinal David Beaton, Archbishop of St Andrews, blessed the infant Mary and anointed her with holy oil. Her biographer John Guy notes that Mary howled while he did this, continuing to do so while her bishops and peers knelt one by one to take their oath of allegiance to her.

Although Mary was far too young to know about them, never mind join in, banquets, masques and dancing were all part of the entertainment to celebrate her coronation.

Mary was just nine months old when she was crowned at Stirling, but she was already promised in marriage to Henry VIII’s son, Prince Edward, the future Edward VI, who was 5 years of age. Their marriage had been one of the terms of the 1st July 1543 Treaties of Greenwich between England and Scotland. The treaties had been ratified by the regent, the Earl of Arran, on 25th August 1543, but n December 1543 the Scottish Parliament rejected the treaties. Their rejection led to Henry VIII launching a campaign against Scotland with a view to forcing the marriage. This war was known as the Rough Wooing and continued until 1550, in Edward VI’s reign, when it was ended by the Treaty of Boulogne.

Mary didn’t marry Edward and, instead, at the age of five, she set off for a new life in France and to prepare for marriage to the dauphin, François, or Francis, son of King Henry II of France, whom she married in April 1558, becoming Queen of France.

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9 September – The coronation of Mary, Queen of Scots