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The most romantic figure in Scottish history, Mary, Queen of Scots has enduring intrigue and appeal, unsurprising in view of the timeline of her various exploits and adventures.

She was born into tragic circumstances - the death of her father, James V - and became a 6 day old Queen in consequence.

Henry VIII of England determined to make her the bride of his son Edward, but the Scots concluded a Treaty with France and in 1548 Mary was sent here for safety, as prospective wife of the Dauphin Francis, future King of France.

She married Francis 10 years later and the two became King and Queen on his father's death in 1559. The sickly disposition of Francis culminated in his death one year later which caused the power of the house of Guise (Mary's family) to be diminished at court.

Now in a position to decide her own future, Mary chose to return to Scotland, despite the newly formed Protestant Parliament. Choosing to follow her Catholic faith, put her in direct opposition to John Knox, instrumental to this new Government.

He attempted, in vain, to convert Mary from her religion and free spirited lifestyle, to Protestantism.

Her decision to marry Lord Darnley was met with typical controversy;

Queen Elizabeth in particular was furious, since Darnley was a grandson to Margaret Tudor, which would strengthen Mary's claim to the English throne.
Darnley was later murdered, by the Earl of Bothwell, who then forced her to marry him to strengthen his political power.

Her supposed agreement caused a national scandal and put her reputation in tatters. On the 15 June 1567, an opposing force of Nobels confronted Bothwell and Mary was 'escorted' back to Edinburgh.

Following her escape from Loch Leven Castle, she decided to seek help from Elizabeth in England. Her cousin's response was one of mistrust, and suspected of involvement in Darnley's death, Mary was imprisoned.

This incarceration was to last 18 years, though this period served to reveal numerous plots to depose Elizabeth from the throne and put Mary in her place. In 1586 the Babbington Plot caused the Queen act and sign the warrant for Mary's execution she was beheaded on the morning of 7th February 1587