Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart
“A triumph . . . a masterpiece full of fire and tragedy.” — Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana
In the first full-scale biography of Mary Stuart in more than thirty years, John Guy creates an intimate and absorbing portrait of one of history’s greatest women, depicting her world and her place in the sweep of history with stunning immediacy. Bringing together all surviving documents and uncovering a trove of new sources for the first time, Guy dispels the popular image of Mary Queen of Scots as a romantic leading lady — achieving her ends through feminine wiles — and establishes her as the intellectual and political equal of Elizabeth I.
Through Guy’s pioneering research and superbly readable prose, we come to see Mary as a skillful diplomat, maneuvering ingeniously among a dizzying array of factions that sought to control or dethrone her. Queen of Scots is an enthralling, myth-shattering look at a complex woman and ruler and her time.
“The definitive biography . . . gripping . . . a pure pleasure to read.” — Washington Post Book World
“Reads like Shakespearean drama, with all the delicious plotting and fresh writing to go with it.” — Atlanta Journal-Constitution
John Guy is a fellow in history at Clare College, University of Cambridge, and the author of several books, including the best-selling textbook Tudor England.
region of Liddesdale, not far from the Debatable Land. Bothwell was seven years older than Mary. He cut a dashing figure: he was stocky like his father, although his hair was darker and his complexion ruddier. He had a military bearing and sported a mustache in the French manner. His eyes were darting and his gaze restless. The only known portrait of him is a miniature, one of a pair depicting him and his wife, Lady Jean Gordon, and made to celebrate their marriage in 1566. The work is of modest
him to the contrary concerning the devotion I have to die in the Catholic faith and for the good of his Church.” Mary’s tone was faltering and evasive, reflecting her guilt and unease over her relationship with Bothwell. This was not least because the Act Concerning Religion was read in Catholic circles as a signal of her secret conversion to Protestantism. It was as though Mary were playing a game of chess, but not thinking more than one move ahead. And then the pact between Bothwell and
When commissioned to stage the entertainments on the theme of reconciliation for the baptism of Prince James at Stirling Castle, he had reached the pinnacle of his courtly career. Now Buchanan wrote not a masque but an anti-masque. Fact was mingled with fiction to create an artful piece of character assassination. Mary had rewarded Buchanan generously. How could he betray her so shamelessly? The explanation is that he was first and foremost a Lennox client. His loyalty to Darnley took priority
a few months earlier. As Mary was herself beginning to discover, her charm and conversational skills would be among her greatest assets. Charles’s letter then turned to the business at hand. Catherine de Medici had chosen not to give her daughters, Elizabeth and Claude, separate households. The lack of staff meant they would sleep temporarily in her own dressing room with Lady Humières in attendance. It was a mean decision. And it was embarrassing for Mary, who was about to leave the Loire and
on. She told him candidly that she saw him as the “principal instrument” of all the “practices” attempted against her, and advised him to curtail his “intelligence” with Cecil. “Nothing,” she said, “passes among my nobility without your knowledge and advice. I will not conceal from you that if anything goes wrong after I trust you, you are the one that I shall blame first.” Her letter does more than anything to explain why Maitland reinvented himself over the next two years as Mary’s loyal