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Profile of the Day: Mary, Queen of Scots

On this day in 1542, Mary, Queen of Scots was born in Linlithgow, Scotland.

Image: Mary, Queen of Scots / Metropolitan Museum of Art, Wikimedia Commons (CC0 1.0)

The only legitimate child of King James V, Mary was named Queen of Scots just six days after her birth when her father died following the Battle of Solway Moss. While still an infant, her great uncle, King Henry VIII of England, took the opportunity to propose marriage between Mary and his son, Edward, to create a new alliance between England and Scotland. However, the Scottish Catholics objected to the union. When the match was annulled, England attacked Scotland in what would become known as the “Rough Wooing.”

After the suspicious death of her second husband, Henry Stewart, in 1567, Mary married the main suspect in her husband’s murder. However, their scandalous union was short lived. The Scottish nobility rose against Mary and imprisoned her in Lochleven Castle. She was forced to abdicate the throne in favor of her son, James VI. When Mary escaped, she fled to England expecting her cousin, Elizabeth I, to help her. Instead, Elizabeth had Mary held in captivity for nearly twenty years. In 1587, she was executed for treason for her involvement in the plot to assassinate the Queen.

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