Mary, Queen of Scots
Reigned: 1543-1568 (Scotland)
Mary, Queen of Scotland, was born in 1542. Her parents were Mary of Guise, a French noblewoman, and James V of Scotland. She never saw her father who died when she was six days old.
Mary became queen when she was less than a year old and for her own safety was sent to France at the age of six.
Ten years later she married Francis, son of Henry II, king of France. However Francis died two years into their marriage.
In 1565 Mary married her cousin Henry Stuart -- Lord Darnley -- an English nobleman. He was proclaimed Henry, King of Scots. Their only child was to become King James I of England.
Mary soon became disenchanted with the overbearing and arrogant Henry who seemed to be carried away by his new title. Henry also made enemies of some powerful nobles and, because of that enmity, there was a plot to kill him. Henry, along with his servant, was found strangled to death after a gunpowder blast intended to take his life had failed.
Some thought that Mary had knowledge of the plot. The rift with her husband had became public knowledge and she had turned to a very powerful Scottish nobleman, the Earl of Bothwell, for support. He and other noblemen proposed to do whatever they could to help with the dilemma: a decision that led to murders.
A few months later, Mary and the Earl married: an event that angered the populace who suspected Bothwell's participation in the murder of their King. Mary's subjects were outraged and turned against her.
She fled to England for help from her cousin Queen Elizabeth I. Instead, she was imprisoned. After 19 years of trying to obtain her freedom, she was charged and found guilty of taking part in a plot to kill Elizabeth. Mary was beheaded at Fortheringhay Castle in 1587, before her 45th birthday.
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