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Mary Queen of Scots' Secretary (Hardback)

William Maitland - Politician, Reformer and Conspirator

British History Scotland Colour Books Women of History Tudors & Stuarts 16th Century Royal History

By Robert Stedall
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 288
Illustrations: 20 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781526787798
Published: 25th January 2021

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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.

This book is a new and enlightening glimpse into Maitland, Mary Queen of Scots's personal secretary. In it, the author argues that it was Maitland who was principally responsbile for the sequence of events that led to Mary''s deposition as Queen of Scotland. I enjoyed learning more about this era and the actors in it, and getting more insight into this.

NetGalley, Rebecca Mee

Overall, Mary Queen of Scots’ Secretary is a modern, convincing - I must also use that popular buzzword “game-changing” - biography that combines page-turning narrative with convincing, sophisticated, scholarly argument. It will, and should, find favour with professional historians and lovers of good history well told.

Steven Veerapen, Professor of History at Strathclyde University

So many monographs have been published about Mary Stuart and her reign over the last 20 years that it is simply wonderful when a detailed & overdue biography of William Maitland of Lethington is finally out! A key player within the strenuous and often difficult Anglo-Scottish relations during the second half of the 16th century. Robert Stedall give us a masterful portrait of a diplomat, courtier & political conspirator deeply involved in the never ending tug of war between his sovereign and Queen Elizabeth. I particularly enjoyed the conspiratorial manoeuvres involved around Mary Stuart. This splendid biography should definitely please all the readers enthralled by the period.

NetGalley, jean luc estrella

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I am absolutely obsessed with this period of time in history. Why is it that it is so easy to romanticise a cruel and hard time period in history- I don't know. This book was fascinating with thorough detail of her secretary's intense loyalty to a woman who did not make that an easy thing to give. William's end is particularly unfitting as he fought by and with Mary for so many years.

NetGalley, Kirsten Clark

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A truly interesting account of Mary Queen of Scots' Secretary William Maitland. Perfect for the serious history enthusiast - extraordinarily well researched, it's quite an academic book, not a light and breezy read - but an in-depth account of the politics, religious turmoil and plotting that shaped Scotlands history.

NetGalley, Shar Daws

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


I was thrilled to be able to read this and I absolutely loved this
Well written, so well researched - I learned so much about an era I have long been fascinated by

I cannot recommend this highly enough

NetGalley, Maria Martignetti

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Incredibly well-written and researched. A very in-depth look at Mary Queen of Scots' Secretary William Maitland. I found it fascinating and very interesting. I highly recommend it to any history buffs.

NetGalley, Steph Elias

About Robert Stedall

Throughout his adult life Robert Stedall has been fascinated by genealogy. He is the curator of the popular www.maryqueenofscots.net and author of The Challenge to the Crown and The Survival of the Crown, a ground-breaking two-volume history of Mary Queen of Scots and her son, James VI of Scotland. He has written Mary Queen of Scots’ DownfallThe Roots of Ireland’s Troubles and Elizabeth I’s Secret Lover for Pen and Sword.

Death of Mary, Queen of Scots

8th February 1587

Mary died 8 February 1587 at Fotheringhay Castle, England.


View all anniversaries

Perfect Partner

Mary Queen of Scots’ Downfall The Life and Murder of Henry Lord Darnley (Hardback)

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

Click here to buy both titles for £45.00
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