Full text of "The love affairs of Mary, queen of Scots : a political history"
Apr 12, Queen Mary of Scots could not escape her fate at the hands of her Her ladies did not know about her relationships with Louis Conde or. He was already, as you know, married to Mary, Queen of Scots. By the wish of the queen-mother, Catherine de Medici, the young king, Francis II., chose his. Queen of Scots from infancy, she was also, as the granddaughter of Margaret Tudor, poised .. Darnley by his new titles left Mary's diplomatic relationship with Elizabeth in tatters. . published a Latin poem in Paris describing James as prince of Scotland, England, crayon drawing, , Musée Condé, Chantilly, France.
Mary could hardly blame her ladies; Mary knew how lucky she was to have not one great love but a few. Yet only one man was at the forefront of her mind.
In all of her five years of life Mary had never seen someone with such a sour look on their face. It made her ache for a true friend. Her mother had written that she would be sending four girls her age to France, to be her ladies maids.
Until then she would he stuck with this small imp of a boy with a sour look upon his face for company. She just met the Queen. Queen Catherine couldn't possible dislike her already? Mary held back a laugh, the older boy seemed to have caught her laugh and smirked back at her.
The young girl could see Francis had watched the exchange and was glaring at the both of them. Before the adults could truly notice Mary curtsied, bowing low with a small murmur of, "Francis. Mary having finally been pulled from her memories gave both her ladies one last smile leading them out the doors to the guards ordered to escort them.
The former Queen of Scots could only admire the English scenery despite the current events unfolding. Her cousin's country truly was beautiful, not even her years as a prisoner could dampen the beauty of the country that neighbored her own. The scaffold was covered in black surrounded by a crowd of English citizens growing restless to see the former queen meet their maker. Mary could hear her ladies crying as she gracefully walked up the steps ignoring the hand of the guards who attempted to ease her footing.
The crowd grew silent as years of waiting to land eyes on their queen's greatest rival as at an end. Mary Queen of Scots made a formable picture, her long dark hair pulled into a bun, dressed as royalty in a crimson melting into brown gown only a single necklace in decoration.
Today Mary may die but she would die with all the grace and dignity of any monarch on their death bed. Mary felt her ladies' soft hands pull her necklace away and placing a white blindfold over her eyes. Mary gave them both a small parcel of gold as she kissed their foreheads. With a smile she turned to her executioner handing him the parcel that would be his payment.
Mary softly gave out a single breath before saying her final words, allowing her thoughts to drift to days long gone. Encouraged by the English stance, Moray and the Hamiltons now rebelled openly. However, Mary kept the allegiance of most protestants, notably the earl of Morton, head of the Douglases. Sporadic military manoeuvres began in late August, later dubbed the Chase-about Raid.
Mary's forces were greatly superior, and when the English saw that, they reluctantly abandoned the rebels to their fate.
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On 6 October they all fled over the border, except Argyll who retreated to the highlands. The murder of Riccio and its aftermath The key to Mary's problems from onwards does not lie in her relationship with Darnley as such, nor in her religious policy, nor in factionalism among the Scottish nobles. All these played their part, but they were all exacerbated by the single overriding fact of the breakdown of her relations with the English establishment.
This was linked to religion, since protestantism was an inextricable part of the Anglo-Scottish 'amity' that Mary's marriage had disrupted. A hostile England would inevitably succour Mary's protestant enemies and make life awkward for her protestant friends. The playing of the protestant card by rebels would also tend to drive Mary towards a pro-Catholic policy; on the whole she resisted this, but on one occasion she did not.
With Maitland's eclipse and Moray's rebellion, Mary had to choose new councillors, and did so mainly from a range of conservative protestants. Catholics were more prominent than before, and her largely Catholic household had more political prominence. Here one notorious adviser was David Riccio, a Savoyard musician who in late had become secretary for her French correspondence. Riccio became a confidant, advising her on patronage, though it seems unlikely that he made policy as Maitland had done.
During the Moray—Hamilton rebellion there was a brief flurry of appeals to Spain, France, and the papacy for financial and military support; Spain sent a subsidy, but it never reached Scotland. Darnley, for whom Mary had done so much, rapidly proved himself vain, foolish, idle, and violent, with a rare talent for offending people, including his wife. He had been proclaimed king the day before his marriage, and Mary seems to have promised to get him the crown matrimonial in parliament. On realizing Darnley's incapacity Mary declined to grant him the crown matrimonial, causing him deep offence.
By late October the marriage was already on the rocks—and Mary was known to be pregnant. After her bloodless victory over the Moray—Hamilton rebellion, the queen's instincts turned to conciliation.
It accorded with Scottish tradition, especially from the nobles' point of view, that dissident nobles should eventually be reintegrated into the body politic. In December she detached the Hamiltons from their allies by conditionally restoring them. This angered Darnley and Lennox; Darnley suddenly became ostentatiously Catholic in protest at Mary's wooing of professed protestants.
A parliament was proclaimed 18—19 December for Marchto which the other exiles were summoned to be forfeited, but it was assumed that the threat would not be carried out. Until mid-January Mary continued to make conciliatory gestures. In late January, however, Mary reversed her policy abruptly. She evidently felt secure in her position, and she was encouraged into an aggressive stance by the cardinal of Lorraine and others on the continent. The impending parliament took on a new character when she announced that it really would forfeit the exiles.
She also pressed ahead suddenly with open promotion of Catholicism, urging the nobles who had given her political support to attend mass with limited success and apparently planning to legalize the mass in the parliament. This plan horrified many leading nobles and royal officials, who had acquiesced only reluctantly in the ejection of Moray from power. There was no consensus that he should suffer permanent forfeiture; and yet there was no guarantee that the parliament would cross the royal wishes.
If Mary was going to be stopped, it would have to be soon and it would have to be sensational. About 9—10 February, the exiles' Scottish friends started to plan a coup.
The plot's immediate aim was to discharge the parliament before it could forfeit the exiles and legalize the mass. In the longer term it aimed to take permanent control of Mary's council, if necessary by coercing her. What has become known as 'the murder of Riccio' was not primarily about him; it was simply a seizure of political power.
Such a coup had to use the legitimating ideology of the ancient nobility whose right and duty it was to counsel the monarch. Since Mary was to be accused of taking the wrong advice, an adviser had to be sacrificed.
Riccio, a low-born foreigner, was a necessary but largely symbolic grievance. The plotters rapidly gathered wide support. Maitland co-ordinated the early stages, the leading noble involved was Morton, and Knox and Randolph approved.
The most remarkable recruit was Darnley. Only a week earlier he had been ultra-Catholic, with the exiles his chief enemies. But the plotters fanned his jealousy of Riccio with insinuations against Mary's honour, and promised him what she had refused—the crown matrimonial. Darnley was largely a pawn, but as king he added legitimacy to the coup.
He and his father also increased the threat to Mary personally: It was Darnley who insisted that the assassination should be in the pregnant queen's presence. The parliament assembled on 7 March Mary heard but dismissed a warning of plots. On the 9th her supper-chamber at Holyroodhouse was entered unexpectedly, first by Darnley, then by a band of armed men led by Lord Ruthven and George Douglas Morton's henchman and Darnley's uncle. Darnley seized the queen, Ruthven harangued her on the iniquity of her recent policies, and Douglas and others dragged Riccio into the next room and stabbed him to death.
The plotters barred the palace gates Bothwell and Huntly escaped out of a window and showed every sign of staying. Darnley publicly assured the Edinburgh burgesses that the queen was well, and ordered the parliament to disperse. Imprisonment of the queen in Stirling Castle was discussed. Mary met the crisis with courage and resourcefulness.
She skilfully detached Darnley from the plotters, who saw that they could not now retain her in captivity; they were reduced to seeking a pardon for their offence.
This was drafted and redrafted, but Mary delayed signing. She manoeuvred the plotters into giving Darnley responsibility for her guards, and then staged a daring midnight escape to Dunbar 11 Marchwhere she and Bothwell assembled an army that soon swept her back to power.
She pardoned Moray and the other exiles, and the plotters fled to England where as Melville commented they might find the other lords' nests still warm. The plotters' immediate aim had succeeded. The parliament did not reassemble, there were no forfeitures, and the mass was not legalized. Their long-term aim, though, had failed, and Mary was back in charge.
Scottish politics now had to cope with the simultaneous presence in royal favour of two hostile and unpopular factions: Moray and his friends against Bothwell, Huntly, and theirs. Mary tried with difficulty to remain above the factions. The birth of a male heir enhanced the queen's dynastic attractiveness, and Patrick Adamson, a Hamilton client, published a Latin poem in Paris describing James as prince of Scotland, England, France, and Ireland—to the fury of the English government, who demanded Adamson's punishment.
Over all this loomed the problem of Darnley, in disgrace with everyone and yet still king. Governmental documents ran in the joint names of king and queen until the very day of his murder. Occasional efforts at reconciliation did not last. In early October Mary and her courtiers went to Jedburgh to hold a justice ayre for trials of border malefactors. There she received news that Bothwell had been wounded in Liddesdale. On the 15th or 16th she, Moray, and others visited Bothwell at Hermitage Castle, a 50 mile round trip.
On her return she soon became seriously ill. She vomited blood and green matter, was feverish, and repeatedly lost consciousness. On the 25th her life was despaired of, and she made a moving deathbed speech, but by early November she had made a partial recovery. The French ambassador attributed her problems to depression at her relations with Darnley, who had paid her a brief and unwelcome visit in Jedburgh.
Mary returned fully to public life on 20 November on her arrival at Craigmillar Castle near Edinburgh. According to a later account sympathetic to Mary and written by Leslie for Huntly and Argyll to signdivorce was ruled out, and an understanding was reached that Maitland and others would pursue an unspecified solution that might offend the scrupulous Mary and Moray when they heard of it, but would receive parliamentary approval.
This may refer to a murder plot, to a scheme to put Darnley on trial, or perhaps most likely to something in between, such as a plan to have him killed resisting arrest. The court was now taken up with preparations for the prince's baptism at Stirling Castle. Ambassadors arrived from France and England. Three days of festivities ensued, the high point being the siege of a mock fortress.
The baptism itself 17 December was a Catholic service, so the English ambassador, Bedford, absented himself, as did most Scottish nobles including Huntly, Moray, and Bothwell.
Darnley too stayed away, although he was still posing as a Catholic; he preferred a stance of open opposition to the court rather than exposing himself to its contempt. The festivities were the high point of the Renaissance culture that Mary had fostered at her court, sending a political message of reconciliation under a glorious monarchy.
Alongside this splendid and public Catholic gesture, Mary was carefully making practical concessions to the protestant church; and on 24 December Morton and the remaining murderers of Riccio were pardoned and returned from England.
The pardon was regarded as Bothwell's initiative. His reconciliation with Morton was ominous for Darnley, since Morton was likely to seek vengeance for his betrayal by Darnley at the time of Riccio's murder. One Catholic concession was the restoration of Archbishop Hamilton's consistorial jurisdiction 23 December.
This enabled him to grant divorces, though not for the queen that would have been reserved to the pope. Moray opposed the move, so Bothwell probably supported it; he may already have been foreseeing a need to call on the archbishop's services.
The murder of Darnley In early Mary's career suffered a series of disasters culminating in her deposition. The first disaster was Darnley's murder—an abiding historical whodunnit, generating a mass of contradictory evidence, and with a large cast of suspects since almost everyone had a motive to kill him. One of these suspects is Mary, and here three main views have been taken. The extreme anti-Mary case is that from late onwards she was conducting an illicit love affair with Bothwell, with whom she planned the murder.
The extreme pro-Mary case is that she was wholly innocent, knowing nothing of the business. In between these two extremes, it has been argued that she was aware in general terms of plots against her husband, and perhaps encouraged them.
The Bothwell love affair can readily be dismissed. Once the casket letters discussed below are discarded as forgeries, there is no contemporary evidence for it, merely the loudly proclaimed later assertions of men whose political survival required them to make such assertions. Along with this falls the Bothwell—Mary murder plot.
The extreme pro-Mary case is equally untenable, since her main apologist, Leslie, conceded in his account of the Craigmillar conference that she had discussed a variety of options for disposing of Darnley. The question thus becomes: There is no direct evidence either way, but it is necessary to explain Mary's motives in seeking a reconciliation with Darnley in late January, when her dislike and distrust of him were vivid.
Darnley had fallen ill officially with smallpox, possibly in fact with syphilis and was staying with his father in Glasgow. Mary went there 20 January and persuaded him to complete his convalescence in Edinburgh, whereupon she would resume marital relations with him. This move to the notorious house at Kirk o' Field looks suspicious in retrospect, but is sufficiently explained by contemporary evidence of her concern to forestall Darnley's schemes against her.
One can speculate that she wanted to facilitate a murder plot, but it is equally plausible that she was taking Darnley under her personal protection to prevent his murder. As for who did kill Darnley, a consensus soon emerged that Bothwell was the main culprit.
Despite what was said later, he probably did not act alone; Morton is his likely chief associate. There are several pointers to Douglas involvement, and Morton would later be executed for the murder A murder bond was drawn up later carefully suppressedand probably many others signed it. In the early hours of 10 February the house at Kirk o' Field was blown up with gunpowder and the strangled or suffocated bodies of Darnley and his servant found in the garden.
The murder made international headline news, and the courts of Europe and the common folk of Edinburgh both expected queen and council swiftly to identify and punish the culprits. The Scottish nobility, accustomed to vengeance killings, had no such expectation, which indeed was hardly realistic when leading councillors like Bothwell, Morton, and Maitland had been involved. For Mary to have made a show of prosecuting some underlings would have implicated their masters.
Moray himself, possibly as innocent as Mary, urged Cecil 13 March not to expect speedy results from the enquiries that the council claimed to be making. The one man who really wanted the murderers punished, Lennox, was fobbed off with a rigged acquittal of Bothwell 12 April.
Then a parliament was held 14—19 April at which most leading nobles extracted concessions for themselves. Mary's own involvement in this was minimal, since she suffered a nervous breakdown after the murder. She had been depressed for some time, and had probably not fully recovered from her physical collapse in October—November The breakdown may well have been prompted by guilt feelings—she had wished Darnley dead, and now he was.
There were reports of her 'melancholy'. Her council, concerned for her health, urged her to mitigate the seclusion of her formal mourning.
On 8 March she received the English ambassador in a darkened room: She did not recover fully for months—especially since Darnley's murder was not the last of her problems. Marriage to Bothwell As the parliament closed, Bothwell was already bidding to marry the queen. He invited the leading lords to a banquet 20 April known as 'Ainslie's supper' from the tavern in which it was reportedly held.
Nine earls, seven lords, and eight bishops signed a bond pledging themselves to promote his marriage to Mary. They represented a wide cross-section of the mainly protestant political establishment. Morton's name was prominent, and there were several other former Riccio murderers and Chase-about raiders.
Many of these men were soon to rise in revolt against the Bothwell marriage, but the Ainslie bond shows that they were not initially hostile to it. Mary later claimed that they had urged Bothwell forward insincerely, hoping to use him to destroy both himself and her. But the most straightforward interpretation of the Ainslie bond is that Morton and his friends, having helped Bothwell to get rid of Darnley, were still prepared to work with him.
They did not trust him; although a protestant he had a record of opposition to the Anglo-Scottish 'amity'. But for that very reason it was important to sign the bond to keep him in line. A marriage to the queen that they promoted could benefit them as well as him. What changed their minds was what happened next.
Bothwell at once took the bond to the queen and proposed marriage—and she refused him. He then made the disastrous mistake of striking out on his own. Mary went to Stirling on 21 April to visit her son.
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On her return on the 24th, Bothwell with a large troop of horsemen intercepted her party at Bridge of Almond and carried her captive to Dunbar. The abduction is a major impediment to the theory of a Mary—Bothwell love affair, and believers in the theory have had to claim that it was collusive.
There is one piece of evidence for this: Sir William Kirkcaldy's letter of 24 April, announcing Bothwell's abduction plan and exclaiming, 'Judge ye geif it be with hyr will or no! Kirkcaldy's letter is of a piece with his earlier assertion 20 April that Mary had said she would marry Bothwell 'and sall go with him to the warldes ende in ane white peticote or sho leve him' CSP Scot.
This malicious gossip is flatly contradicted by Mary's refusal to marry Bothwell on that very day. Believers in the Mary—Bothwell love affair have of course made the most of Kirkcaldy's 20 April letter too, but accepting it at face value forces the improbable conclusion that Mary was simultaneously declaring her intentions openly to Bothwell's enemies and engaging in an elaborate and demeaning deception to conceal those intentions.
Sir James Melville, who was in Mary's company and was taken to Dunbar with her, wrote: Then the Erle Bodowell boisted to mary the quen, wha wald or wha wald not; yea whither sche wald hir self or not … the quen culd not bot mary him, seing he had ravissit hir and lyen with hir against hir will.
Melville, Mary too came as close as she could to admitting that she had been raped: Mary thus had to go through with the marriage: On 6 May Bothwell brought her back to Edinburgh, accompanied by his one committed ally, Huntly, having secured a rapid divorce from his existing wife, Huntly's sister. On 12 May Mary declared formally that although she had not welcomed the abduction, she was now a free agent and willing to marry Bothwell. On 15 May the marriage was celebrated at Holyroodhouse with little festivity and by protestant rites.
The whole experience deepened her depression and distress; she and Bothwell argued constantly and she more than once threatened suicide. Whatever Morton and his friends thought about abduction and rape, they were now faced with a Mary—Bothwell match that they had not promoted and from which they had no prospects of benefiting.
When they signed the Ainslie bond they had assumed that they, Bothwell, and the queen would all be part of a new post-Darnley regime. But Bothwell was now making no efforts to include them in his plans. From 1 May onwards a large confederacy assembled at Stirling, including Morton, Argyll, and the young prince's keeper the earl of Mar. Their professed intentions were to avenge Darnley's murder, with which they charged Bothwell, and to liberate the queen from his thraldom.
Military manoeuvres began in early June. The confederate lords occupied Edinburgh and captured the privy council machinery, while Mary and Bothwell were increasingly driven back on Bothwell's own followers. They operated first from Borthwick Castle, then from Dunbar.
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Eventually two armies confronted each other at Carberry Hill in Haddingtonshire 15 June. The day passed in fruitless negotiations and challenges to single combat until the queen's army began to dwindle. Mary surrendered to the confederates on a promise not kept of honourable treatment; Bothwell fled to Dunbar and eventual exile. The queen was now a captive for a second time. As she was led into Edinburgh, the lords' soldiers cried out 'Burn the whore'.
She was imprisoned in a burgess's house in a state of collapse. Downfall and flight to England, — What happened next flowed from the confederates' general political position: Mary's recent record here was far from appealing. Some of the confederates took their original aim—her liberation from Bothwell—seriously; but many were determined to seize the opportunity provided by her public humiliation. They had to act quickly, for the Hamiltons were assembling an army for a rescue attempt.
On the night of the 16th Mary was sent as a prisoner to the island fortress of Lochleven. The period between then and 24 July, when her abdication was extorted, is crucial. Various options for Mary were initially discussed by her captors: The idea of the murder trial was linked to the confederates' demand for justice for Darnley's killers. After some of Bothwell's servants were executed in late June, it was dropped. Sir Nicholas Throckmorton had been sent by Elizabeth to demand Mary's restoration, but he did not himself believe in this demand and was probably more effective in preserving her life.
He probably discouraged the idea of exile for her, since it was against English interests for her to go to France; indeed he tried to get Mary's son sent to England. The options were thus narrowing, with enforced abdication and imprisonment without trial looking more likely. But restoration remained conceivable. There were intense negotiations with the queen's supporters, presumably about the conditions on which this might be possible.
One essential precondition for restoration was divorce from Bothwell. This would have meant personal shame and disgrace for Mary, especially since by the time of Carberry she probably knew that she was pregnant.
She could not bastardize her child. There is also no evidence that the confederates seriously offered to restore her if she would agree to a divorce. From the outset they claimed that she was refusing to abandon Bothwell, and milked this refusal for all it was worth. It was the formal rationale for her arrest warrant 16 June. A rumour was circulated that the lords had intercepted a letter from Mary to Bothwell written on the night of her arrival, 'calling him her dear hart' and saying that she would not leave him.
This letter, never produced, was suspected even at the time to have been 'invented' Melville, It was not the last time that letters would be fabricated to blacken Mary's reputation. Gradually, then, the confederates reached a consensus that Mary should be deposed, though this cost them some defections, notably Argyll. They ascertained from Throckmorton that English objections would be pro forma.
On 24 July lords Lindsay and Ruthven presented the queen with deeds of abdication, telling her that she would be killed if she did not sign.
Mary was then prostrate with illness, having on top of everything else suffered a recent miscarriage. She received messages from Throckmorton and others advising her that she should sign to save her life, since a deed extorted under duress would be invalid.
The effect of Mary's deeds of abdication was to make her son king he was crowned on 29 Julyand to appoint an interim regency council until Moray could return from France and assume the regency. The regime now had no further use for her. Perhaps Moray scrupled to order her murder; perhaps Elizabeth's lobbying on her behalf was effective. At any rate, the regent seemingly intended to keep the year-old queen in prison for the rest of her life.
In the later months of Mary, in her enforced seclusion, gradually recovered her physical and mental health. Both they and the regent rushed to arms. Mary offered Moray a compromise settlement if he would accept her restoration, but he refused. Mary's initial support came mainly from the Hamiltons and Argyll, though many more supporters would have rallied to her in time. The queen's forces headed for the stronghold of Dumbarton, and Moray was based at Glasgow, so a battle ensued at Langside near Glasgow 13 May.
It was lost by Mary's commander, Argyll, whose fainting fit prevented the reinforcement of his advance guard. Few were killed, but the queen's forces were scattered and many captured. The queen now panicked. Her party initially made for Dumbarton, but finding the way blocked they turned to the south, led by Lord Herries.
Mary later recalled with a shudder the frantic night ride, without food or drink for the first twenty-four hours. Finally she reached Herries' house, Terregles, near Dumfries, where she stayed a day or two, and resolved to go to England to seek Elizabeth's support. On 16 May she embarked near Dundrennan and crossed the Solway Firth in a fishing boat, landing at Workington. Mary's decision can easily be criticized, but her other options were hardly attractive.
In retrospect it is evident that her best bet was to remain in Scotland as a focus for a regrouped queen's party.
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Her mistake was not to recognize that Langside was an indecisive defeat. Here she was evidently swayed by her long and desperate flight after the battle. Although the queen herself made the decision at Terregles, it was a natural extension of Herries' decision to flee southwards from Langside; the momentum of Mary's flight from Langside carried her across the Solway.
Her critics have sometimes urged that she should have gone to France, where she had estates, friends, and relatives. But even if a ship could have been found, France offered merely a comfortable refuge for an exile, not military assistance to restore her to her protestant throne.
Mary still accepted Scotland's link with England and relied on regaining the support of the Anglo-Scottish protestant establishment.
To that end it was natural that she should go to England. At best, English arms and diplomacy would restore her; at worst, she could always go on to France later. It was hardly likely that Elizabeth would deny her that right. Her standing with continental powers, and perhaps her domestic position too, would suffer if she appeared to sanction rebellion. But Moray and his colleagues were her most reliable friends.
Mary herself was not necessarily an enemy, but if her restoration would involve Moray's destruction, this would harm English interests. The English government quickly got Mary into its hands and away from the Catholic earl of Northumberland.