Mary Stuart [with Biographical Introduction]

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View all 3 comments. Jul 19, Elizabeth rated it it was ok Recommends it for: anyone more interested in hagiography than the truth. Shelves: history.


  • Article Contents.
  • Mary, Queen of Scots;
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  • Mary Queen of Scots.

Good read but too biased and tries to present Mary as a far better person than the evidence suggests she could possibly have been. What are we to think of a woman who, when the husband she loathes is murdered, gives his horse and some of his clothes to the man EVERYONE says is the killer? What should we think when she refuses to allow more than a "show" trial at which the court is surrounded by armed men employed by the defendant, who threatens to kill anyone who speaks out of turn?

What should Good read but too biased and tries to present Mary as a far better person than the evidence suggests she could possibly have been. What should we think when the widow marries that defendant less than three months after the murder? And what do we conclude when the widow, pregnant by the murderer, miscarries of twins, bearing in mind that in the 16th century it wouldn't have been possible to tell the foetuses were twins until five months into the pregnancy, so that conception must have taken place well before her husband's murder but after her estrangement from him?

Is she not condemned by these actions, irrespective of the Casket Letters? View 1 comment. Supposedly a revisionist view of Mary Stuart with new information that sets her decisions in a better light I read it hoping for this and came to the conclusion that nope, she's still an idiot. A better documented idiot, but still an idiot.

To say I thoroughly enjoyed reading this is a bit of an understatement. I was a bit skeptical going into this biography, considering I didn't enjoy Guy's biography on Elizabeth I very much because I don't think he painted her in an exceptional light mostly focusing on the men in her life. However, I do think he did Mary much better justice. There is SO much information here, and every question seems to be answered, without the text becoming too dry or boring. I had watched the movie To say I thoroughly enjoyed reading this is a bit of an understatement. I had watched the movie before reading this, and that was what had initially sparked my interest, and wow are the two different.

They really gloss over in the movie how awful Darnley and Bothwell both were to her, along with her imprisonment in England for almost two decades. I didn't realize how old she had become at the time of her execution because the movie makes her look so young. I do think Guy could have cited some more specifics in the footnotes, because there were so many instances where he states that Mary "burst into tears". How does he know that? Is it written somewhere?

Mary Queen of Scots

Is it just an account? For all Mary's strength and regality, which Guy emphasizes, it seems strange that she was constantly overcome with such emotion in public spaces. To be able to visit the places that Mary lived and see Edinburgh itself really enriched my reading of this! Mary was in my estimation was still a nitwit, but I enjoyed this book immensely. Mary Queen of Scots, when she's not being muddled up with Mary Tudor, is generally known as a scandalous Queen.

She is the emotional, flighty counterpart to Elizabeth I's steely calculation. John Guy does a wonderful job of rubbishing this stereotypical view. He is obviously a fan of Mary and does his best to show the other, lesser known facets of her character.


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  4. Mary, Queen of Scots.
  5. Unlike her English cousin, Mary became the Queen of Scotland when she was only six days old and she left Scotland to marry t Mary Queen of Scots, when she's not being muddled up with Mary Tudor, is generally known as a scandalous Queen. Unlike her English cousin, Mary became the Queen of Scotland when she was only six days old and she left Scotland to marry the French Dauphin as a young girl. In time, she would become the Queen of France, even if only for a brief, glittering period.

    The untimely death of her first husband saw her heading home to claim a throne that she hardly knew, and which was a world away from the sophistication of the French court. It is in the murky, politically and religiously volatile environment of Scotland that Mary's life and fortunes take off.

    Through murder, intrigue and scandal, Mary was forced to try and negotiate her path as both a female ruler and one of the wrong religion. Added to this was Mary's relationship with England. As a direct descendant of Henry VII, Mary's claim to the throne was closest to Elizabeth Tudor's and as two Queens in the same island, the relationship between the women was both familial and full of danger. This danger would eventually lead Mary to her end, the part of her life for which she is probably best known today.

    John Guy writes a fantastic biography in this book. Entertaining and thorough, he guides his readers through Mary's complex life. The mysteries remaining over the death of Darnley, Mary's second husband, and her third marriage are combed over life a crime novel and he attempts to exonerate her from some of the slurs that have been laid against her over the centuries since her death. Guy's portrait of Mary is as an intelligent and mostly rather politically astute ruler, who does a largely good job of controlling her nobles and navigating the labyrinth Scotland's tribal society.

    Mary I - Bloody Mary (British Monarchy Documentary) - Timeline

    Her weakness is in choosing her husbands. Unable to even contemplate ruling alone like her cousin, Mary makes bad romantic decisions that erode her power base and respectability. For anyone who is interested in Tudor-era British history, this book is a great read. For everyone else, Mary Queen of Scots is a vibrant and fascinating character whose direct bloodline still sits on the British throne today.

    Definitely worth reading about. Centuries after her execution, Mary Queen of Scots remains one of the most divisive and enigmatic figures in British history. Was she manipulated and betrayed by those around her? Or was she conniving, untrustworthy, and perhaps even a party to the murder of her own husband? Those wanting to find out the truth insofar as "the truth" can be recovered after so much time could do far worse than to read John Guy's scholarly, masterful biography.

    11 Things You Might Not Know About Mary, Queen of Scots | Mental Floss

    Guy presents Mary as a sympathetic, gener Centuries after her execution, Mary Queen of Scots remains one of the most divisive and enigmatic figures in British history. Guy presents Mary as a sympathetic, generous woman who was actually — for a short period, at least — also rather a shrewd political leader. The Scotland of which she was Queen was a divided place, torn apart by competing religious, political and familial factions. She lacked the support of a loyal nobility one of the considerable advantages possessed by Queen Elizabeth, who is, of necessity, also a major presence in the book.

    She perhaps did well to hold the country together for as long as she did. Where did it all go wrong for Mary?

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    Perhaps it all began with her marriage to Darnley — a good husband from the vantage point of a monarch who wanted to bolster her claim to the English throne, but a disastrous one from a personal perspective. Darnley was selfish, scheming, and an inveterate plotter, and while Mary almost certainly had no direct involvement in his assassination — she actually stood to lose a great deal from his death — she could hardly have been expected to mourn the passing of a man who had proved such a disappointment to her.

    It was, though, with her marriage to Bothwell that Mary's tottering reign began to utterly crumble.

    Bothwell himself is presented as a more rounded figure than is usual — both rough and smooth, he could boast a French education and was charming when it suited him, but he also placed personal ambition far above his feelings for Mary. By marrying him, Mary hoped to unite her factious nobles; in fact, she just exacerbated the country's internal divisions, and probably sealed her own doom. Whatever Mary's flaws and mistakes, however, she ultimately comes across as a warm-hearted, well-rounded woman who might — had things been just slightly different — have been a uniting, rather than a dividing, force.

    Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots Essay

    Her accomplishments are not glossed over: despite her personal commitment to Catholicism, she was tolerant of differing views the same cannot always be said of her opponents, most notably the Protestant preacher John Knox. During her brief reign, she could on occasion be every bit as astute a politician as Elizabeth, which counters her usual image as a woman ruled by her heart rather than her head. Ultimately, though, this was a woman destroyed by in-fighting, political machinations, and the misogyny of her own times.

    Well worth a read for anyone interested in this most charismatic of monarchs, or in Scottish or British history in general. Nov 01, Bria rated it it was ok. Unfortunately Mary was just not a smart or well-connected woman.

    Mary | Biography & Facts | leondumoulin.nl

    Even though Guy is incredibly sweet towards her in his descriptions there is no way he can truly hide the fact that Mary's lineage represented the perfect triangle of power to the thrones of France, England, and Scotland but had absolutely no one looking out for her or any family and was just shuttled from one aggressive political fiend to the next. Mary's mother sent her to France thinking this would benefit Unfortunately Mary was just not a smart or well-connected woman.

    Mary's mother sent her to France thinking this would benefit her, but could not foresee Catherine de Medici. Once she rose to power and Mary's husband died she was sent home Guy states this was Mary's decision, but a young girl is really no match for the older, wiser, full of spies and connections Catherine. Once home Mary had barely any supporters or a close circle that put her ideals and goals at the front. Her lords were all fighting and her half-brother was gallivanting around. Still young, with her only attributes being 'charisma' as Guy states not sure how this is supposed to translate into effective leadership , and this being the 16th century, where despite the many female rulers, men still were able to beat women and held the true power, I find it incredibly hard to believe Mary really was effective or made any decisions at all.

    She married Darnley, which made no sense unless her goal was to be a vengeful upon Elizabeth. Then married Bothwell, which also makes no sense politically.


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    7. Guy states that Mary must have chosen to marry Bothwell because of her energetic, proud demeanor would never let her forgive someone who raped her Then she runs to Elizabeth, which also made no sense politically. So without family or a close circle vying for her interests, Mary, being young and beautiful, was run over by incredibly aggressive men and lead into political traps, never really knowing who to trust.

      She makes an interesting historical figure because of her dramatic lineage and how her son ultimately ascended to the English throne, but in life she must have been haughty, in abusive relationships and sad. Also- Can you really call her a queen if she never effectively ruled and spent her who life in some sort of captivity?