Mary I of Scotland

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Mary, Queen of Scots (born as Mary Stewart and known in French as Marie Stuart; 8 December 1542 – 8 February 1587) was Scottish queen regnant from 14 December 1542 to 24 July 1567. In lists of Scottish monarchs, she is recognised as Mary I.

She was the only surviving legitimate child of King James V of Scotland. She was 6 days old when her father died and she was crowned nine months later. In 1558, she married Francis, Dauphin of France, who ascended the French throne as Francis II in 1559. Mary was not Queen of France for long; she was widowed on 5 December 1560. Mary then returned to Scotland, arriving in Leith on 19 August 1561. Four years later, she married her first cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. Their union was unhappy and in February 1567, there was a huge explosion at their house, and Darnley was found dead, apparently strangled, in the garden.

She soon married James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, who was generally believed to be Darnley's murderer. Following an uprising against the couple, Mary was imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle on 15 June and forced to abdicate in favour of her one-year-old son, James VI. After an unsuccessful attempt to regain the throne, Mary fled to England seeking the protection of her first cousin once removed, Queen Elizabeth I of England, whose kingdom she hoped to inherit. Mary had previously claimed Elizabeth's throne as her own and was considered the legitimate sovereign of England by many English Catholics, including participants in the Rising of the North. Perceiving her as a threat, Elizabeth had her arrested. After 19 years in custody in a number of castles and manor houses in England, she was tried and executed for treason for her alleged involvement in three plots to assassinate Elizabeth.

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