New Book – Stately Passions: the Scandals of Britain’s Great Houses by Jamie Douglas-Home


Publishing year: 2007

The book that I started last night is a non-fiction work. It is an interesting account about the palaces and great houses in England and the scandals of prominent people in them.

The book starts with Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. We get to know about Mary, Queen of Scots.


Mary was first married to Francis, the Dauphin of France. Yet, Francis died of a brain tumour, and Mary returned to Scotland.


Back in Scotland, Mary, who was Catholic, had to fight against Protestants led by John Knox. The Protestant reformer John Knox preached against Mary, condemning her for hearing Mass, dancing, and dressing too elaborately.


Mary married Henry Steward, Lord Darnley. Even though Mary was in love with him when they got married, the marriage suffered strain as Darnley usually stayed away and indulged in his own pleasures.


A group of men, hostile to the queen, conspired against her, and convinced Darnley that the queen was having an affair with her secretary David Rizzio. On 9 March, a group of the conspirators, accompanied by Darnley, murdered Rizzio in front of the pregnant Mary at a dinner party in Holyrood Palace.

descarga  MurderOfRizzioDavid Riccio, Queen Mary's favourite, was stabbed 56 times by Lord Darnleythemurderofrizzio

Things between Mary and Darnley were strained. Mary met some of her nobles to discuss the problem of Darnley. There were two options: divorce or assassination. Divorce was out of question. Darnley feared for his safety and went to Glasgow to stay on his father’s estates. At the start of the journey, he was afflicted by a fever, possibly smallpox, syphilis, or the result of poison, and he remained ill for some weeks. Mary prompted her husband to return to Edinburgh. He recuperated from his illness in a house, the former abbey of Kirk o’ Field. Mary visited him daily, so that it appeared a reconciliation was in progress. On the night of 9–10 February 1567, Mary visited her husband in the early evening and then attended the wedding celebrations of a member of her household.] In the early hours of the morning, an explosion devastated Kirk o’ Field, and Darnley was found dead in the garden, apparently smothered.


Bothwell was one of the queen’s men, and is generally believed to be responsible for Darnley’s death. The queen was also under suspicion , but that was never proved.


Between 21 and 23 April 1567, Mary visited her son at Stirling for the last time. On her way back to Edinburgh on 24 April, Mary was abducted, willingly or not, by Lord Bothwell and his men and taken to Dunbar Castle, where he may have raped her.

300px-Dunbar_Harbour_and_Castle,_1987 DunbarDrawing2

On 6 May, Mary and Bothwell returned to Edinburgh and on 15 May, at either Holyrood Palace or Holyrood Abbey, they were married according to Protestant rites. Originally Mary believed that many nobles supported her marriage, but things soon turned sour between the newly elevated Bothwell, and the marriage proved to be deeply unpopular. Catholics considered the marriage unlawful, since they did not recognise Bothwell’s divorce or the validity of the Protestant service. Both Protestants and Catholics were shocked that Mary should marry the man accused of murdering her husband. The marriage was tempestuous, and Mary became despondent. Twenty-six Scottish peers, known as the confederate lords, turned against Mary and Bothwell, raising an army against them. Mary and Bothwell confronted the lords at Carberry Hill on 15 June, but there was no battle as Mary’s forces dwindled away through desertion during negotiations. Bothwell was given safe passage from the field, and the lords took Mary to Edinburgh, where crowds of spectators denounced her as an adulteress and murderer.

146801-004-C21B1385 marysmount Queen Mary at Carberry Hill

The following night, she was imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle. Between 20 and 23 July, Mary miscarried twins. On 24 July, she was forced to abdicate in favour of her one-year-old son James.

Lochleven-Castle LochlevenDrawing "The Abdication at Lochleven Castle of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots" imagesthomas-brown-mary-queen-of-scots-is-compelled-to-sign-her-abdication-in-loch-leven-castle

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