Elizabeth I and the Mary, Queen of Scots Problem
Mary Stuart was the daughter of Mary of Guise and James V of Scotland. Born in 1542, she became Queen of Scotland at one week old due to the sudden death of her father. Mary of Guise acted as Regent on her behalf and married Mary to the French Dauphin, Francis. Mary was sent to live in France at age 5 and became Queen of France in 1559. She retuned to Scotland in 1561 following the death of her husband and was a Catholic Queen in a Protestant country. Although Elizabeth suggested she marry Robert Dudley, whom she made the Earl of Leicester especially so he could marry Mary, she chose instead to marry Henry, Lord Darnley.
Why was she a major problem for Elizabeth?
- Mary had a tentative claim to the English throne. She was the granddaughter of the sister of Henry VIII and, although Henry's Act of Succession had excluded his sister's descendents from ascending the English throne, Mary was considered the next in line to the throne.
- Mary was a staunch Catholic, many Catholics would rather have her on the throne than the Protestant Elizabeth
- By marrying Henry, Lord Darnley, Mary stated her intent to be proclaimed the heir of England. Henry also had royal blood and a claim to the English throne.
- Mary, whilst in France, announced herself Queen of France, Scotland and England. This was worrying for Elizabeth.
1560- Treaty of Edinburgh
In the Treaty of Edinburgh it was agreed between France and England that they would withdraw from Scotland and that Mary and Francis II should not use the arms and signs of England and Ireland in their heraldry. However the treaty was not ratified by Mary, Queen of Scots, the reigning monarch at the time, despite considerable pressure upon her to do so over the period until 1587. Even so, it had the intended effect of the withdrawal of French and English troops from Scotland. Mary did not ratify the treaty because it officially declared Elizabeth the monarch of England, a position she desired for herself.
1568- Arrival in England
It soon became clear that Henry, Lord Darnley was an unsuitable husband for Mary. After the Rizzio affair, in which Henry murdered Mary's secretary in front of her, Henry retired to his home in order to recover from Smallpox. Whilst there here was murdered and his home blown up. The Chief suspect was James, Earl of Bothwell, although he was acquitted of the crime. However, when Mary married Bothwell soon after, suspicions flared up again and Mary was forced to abdicate in 1567 and was imprisoned in Loch Levin castle. However, she managed to escape and fled to England. Mary apparently expected Elizabeth to help her regain her throne. Elizabeth was cautious, and ordered an inquiry into the conduct of the confederate lords and the question of whether Mary was guilty of the murder of Darnley. Mary was moved by the English authorities to Bolton Castle in mid-July 1568, because…