Mary, Queen of Scots, at age 12 or 13. Portrait by François Clouet, online courtesy BNF (Bibliothèque nationale de France). PD
I forgive you with all my heart,
for now, I hope,
you shall make an end
of all my troubles.
When the beautiful baby girl became queen at six days of age, no one expected she would spend half her life imprisoned. No one expected she would lose her head to an executioner's axe. No one expected she would live a life of "troubles."
Mary Stewart (as her name was spelled when she was born) was about as "royal" as it was possible for anyone to be. Her father, James V, was king of Scotland. Her mother, Mary of Guise, was a French princess.
Henry VIII, then current king of England, and Margaret Tudor, Mary's great-grandmother, were brother and sister. That made Henry's daughter, Princess Elizabeth, and Mary, the young Queen, cousins.
With such an impressive lineage, Mary's life should have been comfortable and luxurious.
But comfort and luxury were only the visible trappings of Mary's early life. It was precisely because she was so connected that her life was never really her own.
She belonged to the country and the country's interests had to be her interests - whether she liked it or not. And, with all the strategic alliances and maneuvers that went on in the 16th century, Mary - more than most - was caught in a maelstrom of political events.
To this day, what happened to her remains controversial. Some historians think she was a victim of events outside her control. Others believe she could have done more to avoid her troubles.
Original Release Date: July, 2007
Updated Quarterly, or as Needed
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