The Tudor Society

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  • 5 December – Mary Queen of Scots’ husband dies of an ear infection and Anne Cecil’s unhappy marriage

    On this day in Tudor history, 5th December 1560, King Francis II of France, died at the age of just 15. Francis was King Consort of Scotland, as the husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, and his father had also proclaimed him and Mary as King and Queen of England back in 1558!

    He was taken ill in mid-November with what appears to have been an ear infection, and it led to him dying on this day in history. His death led to Mary, Queen of Scots, returning to her homeland of Scotland, a country she hadn’t seen for 13 years.

    Find out more about Francis II of France, his marriage to Mary, Queen of Scots, his death and what happened next, in this talk…

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  • Watch: Mary Queen of Scots’ life in Edinburgh

    On this day in history Mary Queen of Scots was executed. 434 years ago, early in the morning, Mary was taken from her prison cell to the place of execution at Fotheringhay castle. To commemorate this day, we will be sharing a documentary that was made back in 2019 about her life in Edinburgh. For the first time it is now available for all to enjoy. 

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  • 5 December – Mary Queen of Scots’ husband dies of an ear infection

    On this day in Tudor history, 5th December 1560, King Francis II of France, died at the age of just 15. Francis was King Consort of Scotland, as the husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, and his father had also proclaimed him and Mary as King and Queen of England back in 1558!

    He was taken ill in mid-November with what appears to have been an ear infection, and it led to him dying on this day in history. His death led to Mary, Queen of Scots, returning to her homeland of Scotland, a country she hadn’t seen for 13 years.

    Find out more about Francis II of France, his marriage to Mary, Queen of Scots, his death and what happened next, in today’s talk.

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  • Mary Queen of Scots in Edinburgh – Emma Casson

    This week we have Tudor Society member Emma Casson showing us around the places in Edinburgh that Mary, Queen of Scots would have known.

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  • Mary Queen of Scots True or False Quiz

    A miniature of Mary, Queen of Scots in captivity by Nicholas Hilliard

    As Friday was the anniversary of the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots on 8th February 1587, I thought I would test your knowledge on the Scottish queen who was the nemesis of Queen Elizabeth I. Good luck!

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  • Mary Queen of Scots movie due in 2018

    Apologies for the delay in posting this news but I was away in Moscow when it was being shared around on social media. Thank you to all those who sent me messages about it.

    A new film due out in 2018 will be of interest to Tudor Society members, not only because it’s on Mary, Queen of Scots, but because it is based on John Guy’s excellent book on Mary, “My Heart Is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots”, which is a must-read. The film’s cast includes Saoirse Ronan as Mary, Queen of Scots, Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth I, Jack Lowden as Lord Darnley, Martin Compston as the Earl of Bothwell, Joe Alwyn as Robert Dudley, Brendan Coyle as Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox, and David Tennant as Anthony Babington, so some big names.

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  • Mary Queen of Scots

    Mary, Queen of Scots, was born at Linlithgow Palace in Scotland on 8th December 1542. She was the daughter of James V of Scotland and his second wife, Mary of Guise, and the granddaughter of Margaret Tudor (Henry VIII’s sister) and James IV of Scotland. On the 14th December, when she was just six days old, Mary became Queen of Scotland after her father died of a fever. She was crowned Queen on 9th September 1543 at Stirling Castle. As Mary was a baby, James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Arran, acted as regent until 1554 when he surrendered the regency to Mary’s mother, Mary of Guise, who acted as regent until her death in 1560.

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  • The Last Days of Mary Queen of Scots

    A six part series called “The Last Days of Mary Queen of Scots” starts this Thursday on Channel 5 in the UK. Here is the blurb from the Radio Times:

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  • September 25 – Mary, Queen of Scots is moved to Fotheringhay

    A miniature of Mary, Queen of Scots in captivity by Nicholas Hilliard

    On this day in Tudor history, 25th September 1586, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Mary, Queen of Scots, was moved to Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire, and Elizabeth finally backed down and agreed to the appointing of 36 commissioners to act as judges in her trial. Mary would never leave the castle.

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  • June 19 – Mary, Queen of Scots has a son

    A painting of Mary, Queen of Scots, and her son, James VI of Scotland, James I of England

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th June 1566, Mary, Queen of Scots gave birth to a son at Edinburgh Castle. He was her only son and he was fathered by her second husband, Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley.

    The little boy was baptised Charles James in a Catholic service on 17th December 1566 at Stirling Castle. The name Charles was in honour of his godfather, Charles IX of France, Mary’s former brother-in-law, but he was known as James, after his grandfather, James V, and the other Stewart kings.

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  • February 7 – Mary, Queen of Scots’ death warrant arrives at Fotheringhay

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th February 1587, the warrant for the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, arrived at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire, where Mary was being held.

    Mary had been tried for treason in October 1586 after being implicated in the Babington Plot, a plot to depose Queen Elizabeth I and to replace her with Mary. She had been found guilty and sentenced to death, but Elizabeth would not sign the execution warrant, not wanting the responsibility of killing an anointed queen. However, Mary’s gaoler, Sir Amias Paulet, would not agree to quietly doing away with Mary, and after pressure from her council and petitions from Parliament, Elizabeth finally signed the warrant, although she later said she had asked for it not to be sent to Fotheringhay yet.

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  • January 23 – The assassination of Regent James Stewart, Earl of Moray and half-brother of Mary, Queen of Scots

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd January 1570, James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray, illegitimate son of James V, half-brother of Mary, Queen of Scots, and a man who was acting as regent for his half-nephew, King James VI, was assassinated.

    Moray, who was about 38 or 39 years of age at his death, had become regent for his one-year-old half-nephew following the abdication of Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary, who was imprisoned at the time, had been forced to abdicate by the confederate lords following her defeat at Carberry Hill.

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  • December 8 – Mary, Queen of Scots is born

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th December 1542, Marie de Guise, second wife of King James V of Scotland, gave birth to a healthy baby girl at Linlithgow Palace in Scotland. The little girl was baptised Mary and when she was just six days old, she became Queen of Scotland and is known as Mary Stuart (Stewart) or Mary, Queen of Scots.

    Find out about the life of Mary, Queen of Scots, including her three marriages, abdication, imprisonment and downfall…

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  • From the Archives – Mary, Queen of Scots’ Edinburgh

    As today is the anniversary of Elizabeth I agreeing to sentence Mary, Queen of Scots, to death, I thought I’d share this video recorded by Emma Casson, who was 19 at the time, and who was studying journalism in the Netherlands. Emma shows us some of the parts of Edinburgh that Mary would have known.

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  • December 2 – Elizabeth I agrees to sentence Mary, Queen of Scots to death

    1583 Sieve Portrait of Elizabeth I and a miniature of Mary, Queen of Scots, by Nicholas Hilliard.

    On this day in Tudor history, 2nd December 1586, Queen Elizabeth I finally agreed to sentence Mary, Queen of Scots, to death.

    The Houses of Lords and Commons had jointly petitioned the queen to issue a public proclamation of sentence against Mary, that sentence being death.

    Mary, Queen of Scots, had been found guilty of high treason in October 1586, but Elizabeth I had stalled in doing anything about it. She did not want to commit regicide. Parliament, however, believed that if Mary was not dealt with, she would continue to plot against Elizabeth and would utterly “ruinate and overthrow the happy State and Common Weal of this most Noble Realm”.

    Find out what Parliament said and what happened next…

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  • November 28 – Francis Yaxley and the gold her carried for Mary, Queen of Scots

    Mary, Queen of Scots, depicted in her white mourning garb by François Clouet, 1560.

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th November 1565, Francis Yaxley set sail for Scotland from Antwerp.

    The member of Parliament and political agent was carrying gold to Scotland for Mary, Queen of Scots. However, his ship was wrecked in a storm and he never reached Scotland, and neither did the gold.

    But why was Francis Yaxley carrying gold? Who was it from and what happened to it?

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  • September 11 – An eventful royal progress for Mary, Queen of Scots

    On this day in Tudor history, 11th September 1561, Mary, Queen of Scots, set off on her first royal progress in Scotland.

    Eighteen-year-old Mary had been in Scotland for less than a month, having returned from France following her husband Francis II’s death. Now, she wanted to see her homeland and her people, and show the people their queen.

    This royal progress was to be an eventful one. It included a brush with death and a violent altercation!

    Let me tell you more…

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  • September 9 – Mary, Queen of Scots is crowned

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th September 1543, nine-month-old Mary, Queen of Scots, was crowned queen at the Chapel Royal of Stirling Castle.

    It was the 30th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden and the death of Mary’s grandfather, King James IV of Scotland.

    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…

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  • August 19 – Mary, Queen of Scots returns to her homeland

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th August 1561, Mary, Queen of Scots returned to her homeland, Scotland, from France. Her husband, King Francis II of France, had died in December 1560.

    Let me explain the context of her return to Scotland, which would, of course, be the start of her troubles.

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  • July 29 – Mary, Queen of Scots, marries Lord Darnley, and England defeats the Spanish Armada

    On this day in Tudor history, Sunday 29th July 1565, twenty-three-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots, queen regnant of Scotland, married her second husband, nineteen-year-old Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, at Holyrood Palace.

    I give details of their wedding and how the couple’s marital bliss was rather short-lived…

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  • July 23 – An infant Mary, Queen of Scots, and Marie de Guise escape

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd July 1543, or 24th according to some sources, Marie de Guise and her baby daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots, escaped from Linlithgow Palace.

    They were helped by Cardinal David Beaton, who took them to Stirling Castle.

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  • July 1 – Treaties arrange the marriage of Mary, Queen of Scots and Prince Edward (Edward VI)

    On this day in Tudor history, 1st July 1543, in the reign of King Henry VIII, the Treaties of Greenwich were signed between England and Scotland.

    Among the terms of the treaties was the agreement of a marriage between five-year-old Prince Edward, the future Edward VI, and the infant Mary, Queen of Scots.

    Scotland went on to reject the treaties and this led to a war between Scotland and England, the Rough Wooing.

    Let me explain what these treaties were all about, what happened in the war known as the Rough Wooing, and why it was called that.

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  • June 20 – The Casket Letters and Mary, Queen of Scots

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th June 1567, a silver casket of eight letters were allegedly found in the possession of James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, the third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots.

    These letters, which became known as the Casket Letters, were instrumental in bringing down Mary, Queen of Scots.

    Let me tell you a bit more about the Casket Letters and why they were “dynamite” for Elizabeth I’s advisors.

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  • June 19 – A son for Mary, Queen of Scots, and a Jesuit priest is executed

    On this day in Tudor history, on 19th June 1566, in Scotland, Mary, Queen of Scots gave birth to a baby boy who would grow up to be King James VI of Scotland and King James I of England. He was baptised Charles James though.

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  • June 17 – Mary, Queen of Scots, is imprisoned, and a man who survived being condemned to death

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th June 1567, in Scotland, Mary, Queen of Scots, was imprisoned at Loch Leven Castle.

    She’d been taken prisoner following her surrender at the Battle of Carberry Hill on 15th June.

    At Loch Leven, it was reported that she miscarried twins fathered by her third husband, the Earl of Bothwell, and she was also forced to abdicate. She did, however, escape, but her freedom was very short-lived.

    Find out more about this time in Mary, Queen of Scots’ life…

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  • Three Tudor Queens: Katherine Parr, Mary I and Mary, Queen of Scots

    Linda Porter is one of my favourite Tudor historians so for our Friday video this week I thought I’d share this talk she did for us back in 2014.

    In “Three Tudor Queens”, Linda explores the lives of Katherine Parr, Mary I and Mary, Queen of Scots.

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  • May 16 – Another prison for Mary, Queen of Scots, Sir Thomas More resigns, and the real “John Blackthorne” of Shōgun

    On this day in Tudor history, 16th May 1568, following her escape from prison in Scotland, Mary landed on English soil and was taken prisoner once more, but this time by England.

    Why was Mary taken prisoner? What happened?

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  • May 15 – Two barons tried for treason, the trials of Queen Anne Boleyn and Lord Rochford, and a third marriage for Mary, Queen of Scots

    On this day in Tudor history, 15th May 1537, Thomas Darcy, 1st Baron Darcy de Darcy, and his cousin, John Hussey, 1st Baron Hussey of Sleaford, were tried for treason at Westminster after being implicated in the Pilgrimage of Grace rebellion.

    Both men may have been sympathetic to the rebel cause, but there was no actual evidence that they conspired against the king. Poor men!

    Find out more about them and how they ended up being branded rebels, and what happened next…

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  • May 13 – A battle for Mary, Queen of Scots has a battle, and Mary Tudor marries Charles Brandon

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th May 1568, the forces of Mary, Queen of Scots, met those of her brother, the Regent Moray, at the Battle of Langside in Scotland.

    Mary, Queen of Scots was defeated soundly, but what happened and why was she fighting against the regent acting on behalf of her son, King James VI? What had led to this moment?

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  • May 2 – Mary, Queen of Scots escapes, and an Anabaptist is burnt

    On this day in Tudor history, 2nd May 1568, Mary, Queen of Scots, who had recently been forced to abdicate in favour of her son, King James VI, successfully escaped from Lochleven Castle.

    How did she end up a prisoner at Lochleven?

    How did she escape?

    And what happened next?

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