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William Sinclair Manson

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Kings-Queens of Scotland. Mary of Guise.

Mary of Guise.

Mary of Guise, also known as Mary of Lorraine, was a French noblewoman who became the queen consort of Scotland through her marriage to King James V. She was born on November 22, 1515, in Bar-le-Duc, France, and died on June 11, 1560, in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Mary of Guise was the daughter of Claude, Duke of Guise, and Antoinette de Bourbon. She belonged to the powerful House of Guise, which played a significant role in the politics of France. In 1538, she married James V of Scotland and became his second wife. They had two sons: James, who would later become King James VI of Scotland (and later James I of England), and Robert, who died in infancy.

After James V’s death in 1542, Mary of Guise acted as regent for their infant daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots. As regent, she faced numerous challenges, including conflicts with the Protestant nobility and English influence in Scotland. Mary of Guise, a devout Catholic, supported the Catholic cause and sought to maintain French alliances to secure her position and protect the Catholic faith in Scotland.

During her regency, Mary of Guise faced opposition from Protestant reformers, including John Knox, who criticized her religious policies and influence. She also had to navigate the complex political landscape of European powers, particularly England, France, and Scotland, which were often embroiled in conflicts and power struggles.

In 1558, Mary of Guise’s daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots, married Francis II of France, further strengthening the ties between the Scottish and French crowns. However, the sudden death of Francis II in 1560 weakened Mary of Guise’s position. She faced a rebellion by Protestant nobles known as the Lords of the Congregation, who sought to challenge her authority and establish Protestantism as the dominant religion in Scotland.

Mary of Guise’s regency came to an end with her death on June 11, 1560. Her daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots, was already a widow and returned to Scotland to assume direct rule. Mary of Guise’s efforts to maintain Catholic influence in Scotland ultimately failed, as Protestantism continued to spread throughout the country. However, her regency had a lasting impact on Scottish history, shaping the political and religious landscape of the time.

Mary of Guise’s role as a regent and her staunch defence of Catholicism in Scotland make her an important figure in the religious and political history of the country. Her life and actions are often studied in the context of the broader conflicts between Catholicism and Protestantism in 16th-century Europe.

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