Mary Queen of Scots is one of history's true enigmas. Historians know plenty about what she did and where she went during her short life, but the debate still rages on who she was; a selfless martyr, spurred on by passion for her country and devotion to God, or an icy and manipulative adulteress, capable of murder to achieve her political ambitions?

Mary Queen of Scots white veil portrait

It's time to decide for yourself - explore the life and times of Mary Queen of Scots and learn about the events surrounding her life and reign in the fantastic guide, Discover Something About Mary Queen of Scots.

Bring her story to life and visit the places where some of the most dramatic events took place. In museums, exhibits and collections, feast your eyes on some fascinating objects associated with her, including jewellery, documents, instruments, textiles and more, and see her immortalised in works of art.

9 key facts 

  1. Born 8 December 1542 in Linlithgow Palace.
  2. Crowned Queen of Scots in the Chapel Royal, Stirling Castle, aged just nine months.
  3. Smuggled to France aged five, where she lived until she was 18.
  4. Gave birth to her only child in Edinburgh Castle. He would rise to become James VI of Scotland and I of England.
  5. Some believe she arranged to have her second husband, Lord Darnley, assassinated.
  6. Married for a third time to Lord Bothwell - some believe he abducted her against her will.
  7. Imprisoned for almost a year in Lochleven Castle in Kinross before managing to escape.
  8. Last hours in Scotland were spent in Dundrennan Abbey in Dumfries & Galloway before journeying to England to seek protection from her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I. 
  9. Confined in England for 18 years before Elizabeth sanctioned her death warrant and she was beheaded. She died 8 February 1587 in Fotheringhay Castle.

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