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Mary, Queen of Scots

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Portrait of Mary by an unknown artist

Mary, Queen of Scots (8 December 1542 – 8 February 1587) was Queen of Scotland from 14 December 1542 until 24 July 1567, when she was forced to give up her kingdom.

When Mary's father died, she was crowned queen. She was only 6 days old. Her first husband was the King Francis II of France. Following his death from an ear infection, she married Henry Darnley, an Englishman of royal blood. Darnley murdered Mary's court favorite, David Rizzio, before her eyes, and, as a result, was himself marked for murder. He was killed in an unexplained explosion of gunpowder beneath his house.

Mary's third husband was the powerful Scottish nobleman, the Earl of Bothwell. Bothwell and Mary were suspected of conspiring in Darnley's death. Mary was put in prison. Her young son was made King James VI of Scotland. Mary escaped prison, and hoped her cousin, Elizabeth I of England, would help her regain her throne. Elizabeth did not. She kept Mary prisoner for many years. Eventually, Mary was suspected of plotting to kill Elizabeth. She was tried, found guilty, and beheaded in July 1567. Her son became James I of England at the death of Elizabeth I in 1603.


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