Mary was the only surviving legitimate child of James V of Scotland, Mary was 6 days old when her father died and she acceeded to the throne.

In 1548 , she was betrothed to Francis, the Dauphin of France, and was brought up in France where she would be safe from invading English forces during the Rough Wooing.

Mary married Francis in 1558, becoming Queen consort of France from his accession in 1559 until his death in December 1560. Widowed, Mary returned to Scotland in August 1561.

Mary married her half cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley in 1566, they had a son James. In February 1567, Darnley’s residence was destroyed by an explosion , and he was found murdered in the garden.

James Hepburn , 4th Earl of Bothwell, was generally believed to have planned Darnley’s death , but he was acquitted of the charge in April 1567, and the following month, he married Mary. Following an uprising against the couple , Mary was imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle.

On 24th July 1567, she was forced to abdicate in favour of her 1 year old son. After an unsuccessful attempt to regain the throne, she fled southward seeking the protection of her 1st cousin Elizabeth 1 of England.

Perceiving Mary as a threat , Elizabeth had her confined in various castles and manor houses in England. After 18 and half years Mary was found guilty of plotting to assasinate Elizabeth in 1586 and was beheaded the following year at Fotheringhay Castle.

Mary’s life as a divisive and highly romanticised historical character has been depicted in culture for centuries.

Ladies working on the Tapestery.

Photographs kindly donated by Ms Catherine Vost – from Marie Stuart Society – Scotland.