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History in the Making
Mary Queen of Scots

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Mary Queen of Scots



Throughout her life, Mary Stuart seemed to court controversy. A Catholic ruling over a Protestant country, she was accused of murdering her second husband in league with her third, and forced off the Scottish throne. Kept under house arrest by Elizabeth, she became a magnet for Catholic sympathizers within England. Implicated in several alleged plots against Elizabeth, she was eventually executed in 1587.



Pieter van der Heyden. Maria Jacobi Scotorum Regis filia, Scotorumque nunc Regina. Engraving, ca. 1556

This act received wildly varying interpretations by contemporaries, who painted her as either a victim-martyr or a diabolical would-be regicide. When her son became king of England in 1603, one of his first acts was to send a velvet pall to cover his mother’s tomb in Peterborough Cathedral. Ten years later, he ordered her reburied in Westminster Abbey, facing Elizabeth. "Our dearest mother," James proclaimed, should be in "the place where the kings and queens of this realm are usually interred."

 
Maria, Queene of Scottland. Colored engraving



Exhibition Highlights




From Queen to Martyr



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