Why is Mary Stuart not Mary Tudor

Maria Stuart - a queen in dungeon

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Maria Stuart - a queen in dungeon

The Queen of Scotland was born on December 8th, 1542. Her life was determined by intrigue, love, power and death. Her time was marked by power struggles for the throne and between religions. King Henry VIII, who ruled England from 1509 to 1547, rejected the teachings of Martin Luther in the interests of the Pope. Heinrich's wife at the time could not have children. Heinrich saw his succession to the throne endangered and wanted to get a divorce. The Pope did not consent to this divorce and so the king broke with Rome. He founded the Anglican State Church and made himself head. From that moment on he attacked the supporters of Luther, but also those of the Pope.

This situation only changed when Maria Tudor after Heinrich's death and a short reign of his son Edward VI. (died at 16) took over the English throne. She tried to bring England back to Catholicism and initiated the persecution of Protestants. She died childless in 1558. Elizabeth I was her successor.

For many, an illegitimate heir to the throne, as she emerged from Henry VIII's inappropriate marriage to Anna Boleyn. Now France tried to interfere in the question of the succession to the throne and put the Catholic Maria Stuart on the English throne. Mary thus became a threat to Elizabeth I, who was recognized by the Scots as queen and who in 1560 established Protestantism as the state religion in Scotland. The conflict between Elizabeth I and Maria Stuart should have a say in the lives of the two women.

One week old and already queen!

Imagine: She was six or seven days old - then she became Queen of Scotland. Mary was the only daughter of James V (1512-1542), King of Scotland, and his second wife, Marie de Guise (1515-1560). She was born on December 8th, 1542. Since her two older brothers, Jakob and Arthur had died in the cradle, Mary became Queen of Scotland a week after her father's early death. Her life has always been shaped by the struggle for power and the conflict between the Protestants and the Catholics.

Seven months old and engaged

At the age of seven months she was betrothed to six-year-old Edward VI, the only son of Henry VIII of England. She was supposed to marry him when she was eleven. But this engagement was not recognized. Because when Mary was anointed and crowned Queen of Scotland at the age of nine months, the ruling Catholic party broke off the engagement to the evangelical son of Henry. Then Henry VIII invades southern Scotland. Her mother sent Maria to France so that she could grow up under Catholic care at the French court in St. Germain.

First wedding at 16

At the age of 16, in 1558, she was married to the heir to the French throne. In 1559 he became King Francis II of France. But only a year later he died and when Maria's mother died in Scotland, Maria wanted to go back to her homeland.

In 1561 Mary returned to Scotland as Queen. Although she was a Catholic, she initially recognized the existing Protestant-led Scottish government. She appointed her half-brother, Jakob Stuart, as chief minister.

Second wedding at 23

In 1565 Mary married her cousin, the Catholic Scottish nobleman Lord Darnley. Their increasingly Catholic politics and their marriage are not approved by the Protestants. Her half-brother is rehearsing the rebellion, but Maria can assert herself in her position.

In the meantime, however, the queen and her husband became increasingly involved in disputes. It turned out that he, too, was only interested in power. Eventually Darnley was found murdered in 1567. It is believed that the queen had a hand in it.

Third wedding at 25

However, it could never be proven that she was complicit. But when she married James Hepburn, the 4th Earl of Bothwell and murderer of her ex-husband in a Protestant ceremony, there were renewed riots. Maria had to surrender to the rebellious nobility and thanked in 1567 in favor of her son Jacob VI. from.

At 26: ex-queen and in captivity

In order to protect herself, Maria fled to England to her cousin, Queen Elisabeth I. She hoped Elisabeth would support her out of monarchical solidarity. But Elisabeth had her captured. Because the English monarch was also afraid for her throne.

Sentenced to death at 44

In order to free Maria, intrigues were planned, conspiracies and escapes were planned. In 1586, a page from Mary, Anthony Babington, carried out an assassination attempt on Elisabeth. The conspiracy was discovered and Maria was charged with participating in the conspiracy in October 1586 and sentenced to death on October 25th. Elisabeth signed the execution warrant on February 1, 1587. On February 8, Maria was executed.

Elisabeth ruled London until her death on March 23, 1603. With it, which had given its name to an entire epoch - the Elizabethan Age - the Tudor dynasty in England ended. Shortly before her death, she chose Maria Stuart's son, King James VI of Scotland, to be her successor.

A material for literature

The fate of Maria Stuart lends itself well to drama and literature. It reflects human life under the sign of power and political intrigue. Tommaso Campanella's drama "Maria Stuarda" (1598), Friedrich Schiller's tragedy "Maria Stuart" (1801), Walter Scott's "The abott" (1820) and Stefan Zweig's biographical novel "Maria Stuart" (1935) became famous.

-ab-06.12.02 / text, photos: With the kind permission of Fischer Verlag and Lübbe.

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