Saturday, June 10, 2017

Shadows In A Timeless Myth Presents Mary Queen of Scots


James V., of Scotland, was dangerously ill owing to severe disappointments and defeats experienced in his border war with Henry VIII., of England, and dying at Falkland, when, on the 8th of December, 1542, a message came to him from Linlithgow Palace, stating that his Queen, Mary of Guise, had a baby daughter. The king, rendered sorrowful by his trials and his sickness, replied, in his own expressive language, "Ay, it cam' (meaning the kingdom of Scotland) wi' a lass, and it will gang wi' a lass," and this prediction seem fulfilled in Mary's fate.

The king, her father, only lingered five more days, and on his death the tiny infant became Queen of Scotland and the Isles.

When about nine months old, Mary was solemnly crowned, on the 9th of September, 1543, at Stirling Castle, having been carefully taken there from Linlithgow for the coronation by Cardinal Beaton, who performed the ceremony. Her mother was presently appointed regent.

After a few months, Mary went to reside on a small island in the Lake of Monteith, called Inchmahome.

Four other noble children were her companions, and all these four children bore also the name of Mary; Mary Beaton, Mary Fleming, Mary Seaton, and Mary Livingstone, and all were of the same age.

Mary remained on this island until she was nearly six years old. The five young girls, so isolated and lonely as regards the rest of the world, must have amused themselves with the usual routine of baby pastimes, but a great change now took place. The Queen of Scots was removed to France, and the four companions of her baby days also accompanied her to the gay scenes of the French Court.
Henry II., King of France, received Mary with great enthusiasm and respect, and a triumphal procession was arranged to convey her to the palace of St. Germain-en-Laye.

Her extreme beauty drew much attention. She had bright auburn hair, dark hazel eyes, a fair complexion, and a "dimpled chin."

When the king saw her, his surprise at her loveliness made him enquire, with truly characteristic French politeness and love of compliment, "Are you not an angel?"

Mary was shortly afterwards placed in a French convent to receive a royal education, and appears to have been much attached to those who instructed and tended her. She said adieu to them all very reluctantly, when she returned to the gay Court life at a still early age.

The description of her at this time is that she was very accomplished, having acquired some skill in music, singing, dancing, and even in poetic effusions. She also had pursued more serious studies, both historical and classical, and was altogether so bright and intelligent that Brantôine remarked, "Ah! kingdom of Scotland! I cannot but think your days must be shorter, your nights longer, now you have lost the Princess by whom you were illumined!"

Her dress appears to have been a subject of much whim and caprice: sometimes she would wear a Highland costume, then again the fashionable French or Italian mode of those days, and her time was spent completely in gaiety and amusements.

Mary, Queen of Scots, was born and educated in the Romish religion, and was, in after life, a rigid Papist. Lord Shrewsbury, who had charge of her by Queen Elizabeth's orders, intimates in his letters, which are still extant, that he thought of her rather "as a mischievous, cunning Papist, than as an injured Queen."

Owing to various conspiracies and plots, Mary was sentenced to die, eventually, by Queen Elizabeth, and her execution took place on February 7th, 1587.

There is a touching little story about her favorite dog. The tiny animal hid itself in her dress when she was taken to the scaffold, and, after her death, he refused to leave her body, and had to be forcibly taken away.

Compiled from sources in the public domain.

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Smiles & Good Fortune,
It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent. W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915

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