Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Birth date of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland

On this day in history, 8th December 1542, Mary of Guise gave birth to the future Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, who lost her father, James V of Scotland, only a few days later and was coronated at a very early age, as Queen of Scotland.
I am not going to tell her story here, which is long but fascinating. On this occasion I would like to remind the world of her importance, even 5 centuries after her death.
Mary of Scotland is probably the best image of a woman definitely destined to be a queen. She was already a queen in her infancy, she claimed to be queen of England after the death of Mary I in 1558 (as granddaughter of Margaret Tudor, sister of Henry VIII) and she became queen of France in 1559, after her first husband François II ascended to the throne.
Having read a lot of material about her, I never cease to wonder how tragic and troubled her fate was. Playing the role of queen is not as easy as it seems. You have to choose between acting like a strong, level-headed monarch and acting as a woman craving for love. Mary Stuart wanted to do both but we all agree she failed, because it was not possible, especially in such a violent and wild century as the 16th. Unlike her cousin Elisabeth I, queen of England, Mary was prone to making choices rather with her heart than with her mind and consequently made a lot of mistakes that eventually led to her destruction.
Her intelligence, passion, spirituality and generosity were no secret to the world and many acknowledged her as one of the most emancipated minds of that time. Upon her return to Scotland some would profit from her weaknesses and make her a prisoner of her own fate. Executed on 8 February 1587, after a long imprisonment in England, she is considered a martyr by the Catholic Church. Her only son, James, inherited both kingdoms: Scotland and England, thus forever uniting the two nations drifted apart for centuries before that.

Recommended biographies:
Friedrich Schiller "Mary Stuart"
Stefan Zweig "Marie Stuart"
Alison Weir "Mary Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley"
John Guy "Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart"


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