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Mary, Queen of Scots

Abdication of Mary, Queen of Scots
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Mary, Queen Of Scots

Timeline of important dates and events in the life of Mary, Queen Of Scots, from her birth to her execution at Fotheringhay Castle in 1587.


8 December: Mary is born in Linlithgow Palace, Scotland, only legitimate heir of King James V.

14 December: Mary's father, King James V of Scotland, dies making Mary the new monarch.


1 July: In the Treaties of Greenwich a marriage is agreed between Mary and Prince Edward, son and heir of King Henry VIII.

9 September: Mary is crowned Queen of Scotland at the Chapel Royal of Stirling Castle


7 July: In the Treaty of Haddington a future marriage between Mary and the heir to the throne of France, Francis, is agreed.

7 August: Mary leaves Scotland to live in France.


4 April: Mary signs a secret agreement bequeathing the crown of Scotland (and her claim to England) to the French if she dies childless.

24 April: Mary marries Francis in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. 17 November: Protestant Elizabeth Tudor becomes Queen of England. Mary believes that she herself has the stronger claim to the throne and begins to display the Arms of England with those of France and Scotland.


10 July: Mary becomes Queen Consort of France when her husband's father, Henri II, dies in a jousting accident.


11 June: Mary's mother, Mary of Guise, Regent of Scotland, dies at Edinburgh Castle.

5 December: Mary is widowed when her husband, King Francis, dies.


14 August: Mary leaves France to return to Scotland.

19 August: Mary arrives safely at the Port of Leith in Scotland.

2 September: Mary makes her official entry into Edinburgh, where she is presented with the keys to the city, a Bible, and a book of Psalms.

4 September: Mary has her first audience with Scottish Protestant leader John Knox. It did not go well.


29 July: Mary marries Catholic Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, in the Chapel Royal of Holyroodhouse.

26 August: Unsuccessful rebellion against Mary's marriage by her half brother, James Stewart, Earl of Moray.


10 June: Mary gives birth to a son, James, the future King of Scotland and England, in Edinburgh Castle.


10 February: House explosion at Kirk o'Field in Edinburgh. Darnley is found dead in the garden, apparently murdered.

24 April: Mary is abducted (either by force or consent) by James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, and taken to Dunbar Castle.

15 May: Mary marries Bothwell in a Protestant ceremony in Edinburgh. This provokes a rebellion by the Scottish Lords.
15 June: The Battle of Carberry Hill. Mary faces her enemies in battle but is defeated and surrenders. Bothwell escapes.

17 June: Mary is imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle.

July: Mary, pregnant with twins, suffers a miscarriage.

24 July: Mary is forced to abdicate the Scottish throne in favour of her infant son, James. James Stewart, Earl of Moray, to be Regent.


2 May: Mary escapes from Loch Leven Castle.

13 May: Battle of Langside. Mary tries to reclaim her throne but is defeated and flees.

16 May: Mary arrives in England, seeking Queen Elizabeth I's help to regain her throne, and stays the night at Workington Hall.

17 May: Mary holds court at Carlisle Castle but is soon held captive in the Warden's Tower by Queen Elizabeth I. Mary will never be a free woman again.


1 October: Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, is arrested for secretly plotting to marry Mary and within days is imprisoned in the Tower of London.

November: Northern Rebellion against Queen Elizabeth I breaks out, led by powerful northern earls, Westmoreland and Northumberland, who wanted (amongst other things) for Mary to be recognised as the Queen's heir.

December: Northern Rebellion collapses and the rebels flee to Scotland.


3 August: Duke of Norfolk is released from The Tower of London.

28 November: Mary arrives at Sheffield Castle (South Yorkshire) which is to be her main residence for the next fourteen years.


3 September: Duke of Norfolk is arrested for his involvement in The Ridolfi Plot, which hoped to free Mary from captivity, marry her to the Duke of Norfolk, and place her on the English throne with Spanish help.


2 June: Duke of Norfolk is executed for treason at The Tower of London.


April 14: James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, Mary's third husband dies in a Danish Prison.


March: Mary's son, King James, rejects her proposal that they should rule Scotland together.


20 September: Sir Anthony Babington is executed for plotting, with others, to kill Queen Elizabeth I and place Mary on the throne. Mary is implicated in the plot.

14-15 October: Mary is placed on trial at Fotheringay Castle for her role in the Babington Plot.

25 October: Mary is found guilty of treason and sentenced to death. Queen Elizabeth, however, is reluctant to sign the death warrant.


1 February: Queen Elizabeth finally signs Mary's death warrant.

7 February: Mary writes her will and a letter to Henri III, King of France, her former brother-in-law. 8 February: Mary is executed in the great hall of Fotheringay Castle. It takes three blows of the executioner's axe to sever her head.

30 July: Mary is buried at Peterborough Cathedral.


28 October: Mary's body is moved from Peterborough Cathedral to Westminster Abbey by her son, King James, and laid to rest in a chapel opposite the tomb of Queen Elizabeth I.





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