Mary, Queen of Scots - ENGAGED, MARRIED and WIDOWED

To protect his Kingdom, Henry VIII wanted a political alliance with Scotland.  He wanted Mary Stewart to wed his frail son, Prince Edward (who, when he became King, would be Edward VI). 

The Scottish Parliament did not approve that arrangement.  Catholic forces inside Scotland also had other ideas.  They believed that Mary should wed the French heir, the Dauphin Francis. Mary's mother - a French princess - agreed. 

Henry VIII was extremely upset when Scotland's Parliament would not approve the Treaty of Greenwich (setting forth the terms of a marriage between the two youngsters).  So angry was Henry that he fought a war over the issue (now called the "Rough Wooing" War).  He sent his troops to Scotland with this directive:

Put all to fire and sword.

"All" included women and children.

With fighting all around, Mary of Guise (then serving as Queen Regent) was worried about her daughter's safety.  Would English soldiers try to kidnapp her? 

To avoid such a disaster, Mary hid her daughter inside Inchcolm Abbey (founded in the 12th century) located on the island of Inchcolm (in Scotland's Firth of Forth).  There, the five-year-old child would be safe with the monks (and away from English soldiers).

Henry VIII, meanwhile, remained upset.  Angry (that Mary would not become his daughter-law) and ruthless (in his instructions that Britain's troops should destroy much of Edinburgh), Henry was determined to have his way. 

Instead of growing up under Henry's influence, however, Mary sailed to France.  England's King had lost the "wooing war."

Barely six, and now engaged to marry Francis, the Dauphin of France, Mary sailed to her mother's home country where she would be raised at the French court.  She arrived in Roscoff (Brittany), in 1548. 

To mark the spot where their future Queen arrived, some of the locals built a chapel (St. Ninian's) at the landing point near St. Pol de Leon.  Time eventually took its toll on that now-destroyed chapel.

Recovering from the sea journey, the young Queen initially stayed at 19, rue Amiral-Reveillere in Roscoff.   Then she traveled by river boat to Paris.

In the royal household, she would learn to be a queen.  She would become educated. 

When she was sixteen, she married Francis who was two years younger than she. When her young husband became King Francis II, Mary was also Queen Dauphine of France.  It was a happy time for her.

Then ... Francis II died.  Mary, just eighteen, was a widow.

No longer useful to her French relations, Mary returned to Scotland - a country she no-longer knew. Her mother-in-law, the powerful Catherine di Medici, wanted the young queen out of France.

The young widow moved into Edinburgh's royal palace of Holyroodhouse ("Holy Cross House").  That venue had its start as a royal guesthouse on the grounds of Holyrood Abbey, founded in the 12th century by David I of Scotland.

More troubles lay ahead for Mary.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Aug 01, 2003

Updated Last Revision: May 05, 2019

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"ENGAGED, MARRIED and WIDOWED" AwesomeStories.com. Aug 01, 2003. Jan 26, 2020.
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