In 1542 James V, the King of Scotland died. His daughter, Mary, who was only one week old, became Queen. While she was still a child, Mary Stuart married Francis, the son of the French King. In 1559 Francis became King of France.
So at the age of 17, Mary, who was a beautiful woman with lovely red hair, was Queen of two countries. But only after one year as King, Francis died.
Her mother-in-law Mary of Guise, did not want Mary in France and so she returned to Scotland.
She married again. This time she married her cousin, Lord Darnley. Mary and Darnley did not like each other. Darnley became very jealous of an Italian called Riccio, who was Mary’s secretary. One night, Darnley and a group of his friends murdered Riccio in front of Mary.
Two years later, Darnley, too, died. Mary had gone to a dance, but her husband was ill and stayed at home. In the middle of the night the house where Darnley was asleep exploded and caught fire. But Darnley’s body was not found in the house. It was found in the garden. He had been strangled.
Who was the murderer? People suspected the Earl of Bothwell, but it could not be proved. Then Mary shocked the people of Scotland. She married Bothwell. This was too much for the Scots. There was a rebellion and the Scottish people made Mary’s son, James, King. Bothwell, who escaped to Norway, went mad and died in prison. Mary escaped to England.
The English Queen, Elizabeth, who was Mary’s cousin, welcomed Mary, but the English lords did not trust the beautiful Scottish Queen. She was put in prison and the, finally in 1587, she was beheaded for treason. When the executioner lifted up her head, he picked up only the hair. It was a wig. Mary’s own beautiful red hair had turned thin and grey.
In the end, Mary had lost everything. She had lost the crowns of France and Scotland, three husbands, her son, her life – even her famous beauty.