Mary Queen of Scots' Secretary (Hardback)
William Maitland - Politician, Reformer and Conspirator
Maitland was the most able politician and diplomat during the lifetime of Mary Queen of Scots. It was he who master-minded the Scottish Reformation by breaking the ‘Auld Alliance’ with France, which presaged Scotland’s lasting union with England.
Although he gained English support to defeat French troops defending Mary’s Scottish throne, he backed her return to Scotland, as the widowed Queen of France. His attempts to gain recognition for her as heir to the English crown were thwarted by her determined adherence to Catholicism.
After her re-marriage, he spearheaded the plotting to bring down her objectionable husband, Lord Darnley, leading to his murder, after concluding that English and Scottish interests were best served by creating a Protestant regency for their son, Prince James. With encouragement from Cecil in England and the Protestant Lords in Scotland, he concocted evidence to implicate her in her husband’s murder, resulting in her imprisonment and deposition from the Scottish throne.
Despite her escape to England, he remained personally loyal to her and attempted to conjure Scottish support for her restoration by backing her allies holding Edinburgh Castle on her behalf. When it fell in 1573, he resorted to suicide.
In the early hours of 10 February 1567 a large explosion ripped through the Old Provost’s lodgings at Kirk o’ Field, Edinburgh, where Mary Queen of Scotland’s consort, Henry Lord Darnley, was staying. Darnley’s body was found with that of his valet in a neighbouring garden the next morning. The Queen’s husband had been suffocated and the ramifications for Mary and Scottish history would be far-reaching. Lord Darnley cuts an infamous figure in Scottish and Tudor history. In life he proved a controversial character, and his murder at Kirk o’ Field in 1567 remains one of British history’s…By Robert Stedall
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