Mary Queen of Scots

The Marie Stuart Society

Registered Scottish Charity Number SC044300

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A Brief History of Mary’s Life

While the basic story of Mary Queen of Scots is known throughout Europe and beyond, and has fascinated painters, poets and playwrights amongst many others, there are many misunderstandings and misconceptions surrounding her. The following pages aim to set out the basic timeline and the main events of Mary's life to give readers a reliable yet accessible understanding of how and why she came to a tragic end and why she provokes such a variety of opinion. Further articles will analyse these events in more detail.

We've separated the timeline into five sections:

Early Life
Her family background, the circumstances of her birth, and her early life in Scotland
Growing Up in France
Her youth in the French court and marriage to the Dauphin
Return to Rule in Scotland
Her marriage to Darnley, John Knox, Rizzio's murder
Conflicts and Abdication
James' birth, Darnley's death, Mary's relationship with Bothwell, their battle to retain the crown, her imprisonment and escape from Lochleven Castle and final defeat
Imprisonment in England
Her flight to England, imprisonment, plots, and eventual execution