Thursday, August 22, 2013

Chamber of Mary Queen of Scots

Here is another wonderful post from Madame Guillotine, this time on Mary Stuart's bedchamber at Holyrood.
In the small corner turret beside the room there was the Queen’s private supper room, where she could dine and make merry with her ladies in waiting and closest friends. This was a cosy, cheerful space that would unfortunately later become tinged with tragedy as it was here on the night of the 9th of March 1566 that Mary’s Italian born secretary David Rizzio, who was dining with the Queen and a few of her friends, was dragged away from her by a group of noblemen, led by her estranged husband Lord Darnley who took them up the private staircase from his own rooms which led to Mary’s bedchamber, and then stabbed to death in the Outer Chamber, all within earshot of the terrified Queen, who was pregnant at the time.
Mary was then held captive at the palace by the conspirators but managed to win her husband over and with his assistance escaped to Dunbar Castle and then on to Edinburgh Castle, where their son, James, was born in June. The royal marriage, which had begun with splendid celebrations in the chapel of Holyroodhouse, was effectively at an end however and it was at this point that Mary’s tenure as Queen of Scotland entered its final stage, culminating in her imprisonment and subsequent abdication in 1567.

The sad fate of Mary, Queen of Scots is very well known and for the years immediately after her imprisonment and eventual execution, her memory was reviled in Scotland, with even her own young son being encouraged to think of her as a murderess and adulteress who had been corrupted by her untrammelled feminine passions. However, over time the tide definitely began to turn and Mary, who always had her champions even if they did not dare speak up in her defence, increasingly began to be regarded as a heroine and the tragic victim of overwhelming and sinister machinations. It was at this point that relics of the dead Queen began to be revered and objects and places associated with both her person and her brief yet dramatic reign were regarded with enormous interest. (Read more.)

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