It is our pleasure to have the company of the celebrated journalist, editor and popular historian, Rosemary Goring, to discuss her latest research on the eternally enigmatic Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary is one of Scotland’s most famous and recognisable historical figures. Yet, for a Queen of Scots, Mary spent markedly little time in Scotland. In _Homecoming: The Scottish Years of Mary, Queen of Scots_, Rosemary Goring shows us the places which mattered in Mary’s life in Scotland and how this period contributed to Mary’s downfall.
On 14th December 1542, the Scottish crown rested on the head of a six-day-old baby. Pressures on the young queen were only to grow with age. Mary left Scotland just months before her sixth birthday, to marry the heir to the French throne. Much changed in her absence: when Mary returned in 1561, she disembarked in Leith as a sixteen-year-old widow and as a Catholic queen of a Protestant realm. Mary ruled Scotland in her own right until 1567, when she was captured, imprisoned, and forced to give up her crown - she would spend almost two decades in custody in England, before she was executed on the orders of her cousin, Elizabeth I.
Much ink has been spilt on the life of Mary, Queen of Scots. What makes Rosemary Goring’s contribution so exciting is the accessibility of its prose and the humanity of its portrayal of Mary. A review in _The Times_ said of _Homecoming_ that “like Mary, it is fresh and flighty, maddening, but irresistibly unbuttoned”. We hope you will join us as Rosemary takes us on what is sure to be a fascinating tour of Mary’s life in Scotland. Decide for yourself whether Mary was truly responsible for the tragedies she experienced.
Rosemary Goring studied History at the University of St Andrews, before becoming a reference editor with W&R Chambers and a literary editor at _Scotland on Sunday_, _The Herald_, and _The Sunday Herald_. Sixteenth-century Scotland has inspired much of her writing: _After Flodden_ and _Dacre’s War_ are works of historical fiction, whilst _Scotland: The Autobiography, 2,000 Years of Scottish History by Those Who Saw it Happen_, and _Scotland: Her Story, The Nation's History by the Women Who Lived It_ both draw on figures and sources from this and other periods in Scotland’s past. _Homecoming: The Scottish Years of Mary, Queen of Scots_ is the product of Rosemary’s latest research, which also informed her Magnusson Lecture in 2020 on ‘The Afterlife of Mary, Queen of Scots’.
Author photo: Chris Scott.