Hello dear Readers and Curious Visitors
Tonight is the end of a unique celebration, something that doesn't happen every day : the Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee. This event marked the 70th anniversary of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, who ascended the British throne on 6 February 1952. 💂♀️👑
After Louis XIV, this is the third longest reign in history and the longest in the United Kingdom, the Sun King reigned 72 years between 1643 and 1715.
Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II
But what about Scotland?
This is a question we often encounter during our visits in Edinburgh : why or rather how the Kings and Queens of England became the rulers of Scotland?
Well, it's quite the opposite! At least in the beginning.
Let's get the genealogy out ! No, don't close the page!
Does Mary Stuart mean anything to you?
Let's go back to the 16th century...
Mary Stuart, only heiress of King James V of Scotland and fatherless at one week, she was crowned Queen of Scots at one year. In 1547, she was promised to the French dauphin, François, son of Catherine de Medici and Henry II, who was two years younger than her. She arrived in France at the age of six, in 1548. Her marriage to Francis of France took place on 24 April 1558 and she became queen of France in 1559, but for a very short time...
The young Francis II died on 5 December 1560 after only seventeen months of reign. Widowed, Mary was forced to return to Scotland, where she remarried in 1565 to Henry Stuart Lord Darnley.
What is her link with England?
At the same time, Queen Elizabeth I of the Tudor dynasty, daughter of Henry VIII, is on the English throne. Two women were thus in power on the British Island and both share bonds that go beyond power and gender. Both are actually cousins!
Mary Stuart is therefore a legitimate heir to the throne of England, a rivalry mixed with mutual respect will therefore arise between the two queens with different politics and religions. Mary Stuart, Catholic raised at the French court, young, beautiful, romantic and mother of a child, James, born in 1566 VS Elizabeth I Protestant and head of the Anglican church, tactical, the childless “virgin” queen who ran her kingdom with expert hands.
1567, only one year after his son birth, lord Darnley was murdered. His body was found outside after an explosion in the castle where he was staying. Mary was accused of the murder with James Hepburn, Lord Bothwell, whom she married a few months after her husband's death. Forced to abdicate, she fled to England where, from 1568, Elizabeth I had her imprisoned, thus preventing her from acceding to the throne she claimed. After nineteen years of imprisonment, Mary was beheaded at Fotheringay on 8 February 1587.
Her son, James VI became then the king of Scotland and and he grew up in a Protestant tradition. He succeeded to the Scottish throne at the age of thirteen months only, after his mother's abdication.
James VI of Scotland and Ist of England
Great-great-grandson of Henry VII, King of England, he is crowned king of England as James I in 1603 and succeeded Elizabeth I, the last Tudor monarch of England, who died childless.
This event is now known as the Union of the Crowns between Scotland and England.
The Windsor royal family may not be directly descended from the Stuarts, but despite many historical twists and turns, that link to the Scottish crown remains to this day with Queen Elizabeth II. But that's another story I'll tell you later... 🤓