Mary I of Scotland

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Mary I of Scotland (1542-1587). She was also known as Mary, Queen of Scots. Vivacious, pretty and clever according to contemporary accounts, her life reads like a royal soap opera. She was the daughter of James V and his French wife, Mary of Guise. Her father died while she was still a baby and she became Queen. However the kingdom was ruled by her mother as Regent. She left Scotland in 1547 at the age of five to be brought up at the French court. In 1558 she married the dauphin, the heir to the French throne, who became Francis II. So Mary was now Queen of Scotland and of France. She was also the heir to the throne of England. This was the high point in her life. However it did not last long.

Her husband died in 1561, and the young widow returned to Scotland. She was still only 19 and despite her talents, her upbringing had in no way given her the judgement needed to cope with the dangerous and complex political situation in the Scotland of the time. As a result, after a very colourful history which some one might like to fill in, she was imprisoned in 1568 and eventually executed by Elizabeth I of England. She was succeeded by her son James VI who later became James I of England.