Letter from Mary Queen of Scots in a bid to get the King of France to secure her freedom sells for £32,500
Born on December 8, 1542 at Linlithgow Palace, Mary became Queen of Scotland when she was just six days old.
As the great-granddaughter of Hendy VII of England, she was next in line to the English throne, after the children of Henry VIII.
She was to marry Henry VIII’s son, the future Edward VI, after the Scottish nobility decided to make peace with England. But the Catholics objected and she was taken to Stirling Castle.
Scotland returned to its traditional ally, France, and Mary later married French King Henry II’s heir, the Dauphin François, on April 24, 1558.
The University of Dundee has created a computer generated image (pictured) of the face of Mary Queen of Scots as it would have looked at the time of her reign
He succeeded to his father’s throne in 1559, making Mary Queen of France as well as Scotland. However, the reign of King Francis II was brief and he died in 1560 from an ear infection.
The following year, Mary decided to return to Scotland, which was now a Protestant country, after the religious reforms carried out by John Knox.
She was a Roman Catholic and was assured by her half-brother Lord James Stewart that she would be allowed to worship as she wished on her return in August 1561.
At first she ruled successfully and was advised by James and William Maitland of Lethington. But her marriage in 1565 to her first cousin Henry, Lord Darnley (who was Henry VII’s great-grandson), set off a series of tragic events.
Darnley, who was spoiled and irritable, had become the focus of her enemies and their relationship had become rocky. The birth of their son, James, did little to improve the situation, and when Darnley was murdered in 1567 people began to suspect that she was involved.
Her marriage three months later to the Earl of Bothwell – widely believed to be the murderer – ruined her, with Protestant lords rising against her in a battle at Carberry Hill, near Edinburgh, on 15 June 1567 .
She later surrendered and was imprisoned in Lochleven Castle, Kinross-shire, and forced to abdicate in favor of her son. Bothwell had fled but was arrested and held prisoner until his death.
Mary escaped from Lochleven in 1568 and after another failed battle traveled to England where she hoped Queen Elizabeth I would support her cause, but she was held captive in the country for 19 years.
A number of Roman Catholic plots against Queen Elizabeth led her ministers to demand Mary’s execution.
She was executed at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire on February 8, 1587, aged 44.
Mary Queen of Scots was buried in Peterborough Cathedral, but in 1612 her son James VI had her body exhumed and placed in the vault of King Henry VII’s Chapel at Westminster Abbey.