22nd November 1515

Mary of Guise, regent Queen of Scotland, is born

Mary of Guise married King James V of Scotland in 1538 and, upon his death in 1542, ruled as regent on behalf of her daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary was just six days old when she inherited the throne from her father.

Political marriage

Born in Lorraine, in the north-east of France, Mary was also known as Mary of Lorraine, but it was not only for this reason that she wanted to maintain Scotland’s alliance with France. England was a clear threat to Scotland’s continued independence, and maintaining the alliance would prevent England from sending all of its forces north should it choose to invade, since doing so would leave its southern coast, facing France, undefended and at threat of invasion.

Mary of Guise had spent her formative years in France and married Louis II in her late teens. She had two sons with him. However, Louis died before the marriage was three years old, in 1537, which left Mary a 21-year-old widow. She didn’t remain single for long, though.

Mary becomes Queen of Scotland

That same year she was promised to James V of Scotland who was specifically looking for a French wife following the death of his first French wife, Madeleine. Mary and James were married the following year. She was crowned Queen of Scotland in 1540 and, in May of that year, she gave birth to the couple’s first child, James, to be followed by Robert the following year. James would have become king of Scotland had the brothers not both died.

Thus, it was Mary, the couple’s third child, who was to become Queen, six days after her birth.

Initially, James Hamilton acted as regent, and for some time he was receptive to the idea of marriage between Mary, Queen of Scots, and prince Edward of England, who was the son of Henry VIII and would later become King Edward VI. However, Hamilton went back on this idea, and thus began what became known as the rough wooing as England attempted to unite the thrones by force.

Sent to France

Mary, Queen of Scots, was eventually sent to France, where she married the Dauphin and, upon his death, became Queen Consort of France. The marriage bolstered the authority of Mary of Guise within the court, and she became Regent. However, her reign – on behalf of her daughter – was shorter than that of Hamilton, lasting a little over six years from April 1554 until her death in June 1560.

During that time, the influence of French elements within the court increased considerably, to the degree where France and Scotland were in many respects acting as a unified, single nation. This displeased much of the Scottish nobility, who were also concerned that the alliance with Catholic France was a threat to their Protestant faith. Their cause was aided by the arrival of John Knox in Scotland, who became a figurehead for the protestant camp, and was made minister of Edinburgh.

French forces intervened and although they were initially successful in their battle with Knox’s supporters, the arrival of the English fleet at the start of 1560 turned the tables. She may not have known it, but this was the closing act of Mary’s life. By summer, she was ill with edema, and she died on 11 June.



Other events that occured in November

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