Monday, November 22, 2010

Mary of Guise

Slightly less well known than her daughter, Mary Queen of Scots, Mary of Guise became Queen Consort to James V of Scotland in 1540 (February 22nd).  She also served as Regent of Scotland for her daughter between 1554 and 1560.  Mary of Guise was 24 at the time of her coronation as Queen Consort, having been born in Lorraine on November 22, 1515.

Sir Walter Scott devotes a fair amount of text to her history in his "Scotland":  'Having thus entirely new-modelled the system of church government and of national worship, the parliament of Scotland resolved to recall from France the descendant of their monarchs, whose connection with that country was broken off by the death of her husband; naturally supposing that Mary, alone, and unsupported by French power, could not be suspected of meditating any interruption to the new order of religious affairs so unanimously adopted by her subjects.

With this view, the lord prior of St. Andrew's, the queen's illegitimate brother, and a principal agent in all the great changes which had taken place since the commencement of the regency of Mary of Guise, was despatched to Paris to negotiate the return of his royal sister. The Catholics of Scotland sent an ambassador on their own part: this was Lesley, bishop of Ross, celebrated for his fidelity to Mary during her afflictions, and known as a historian of credit and eminence. He made a secret proposal, on the part of the Catholics, that the young queen should land in the north of Scotland, and place herself under the guardianship of the Earl of Huntley, who, it was boasted, would conduct her in triumph to the capital at the head of an army of twenty thousand men, and restore, by force of arms, the ancient form of religion. Mary refused to listen to advice which must have made her return to her kingdom a signal for civil war, and acquiesced in the proposals delivered by the prior of St. Andrew's, on the part of the parliament. The young queen took this prudent step with the advice of her uncles of Guise, who, fallen from the towering hopes they had formerly entertained, were now chiefly desirous to place her in her native kingdom, without opposition or civil war, in which the proposals of the bishop of Ross must have immediately plunged her.'

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