Lady Margaret Douglas and the Lennox Jewel

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This article arises from research that I did for my book ‘The Challenge to the Crown’ and its sequel ‘The Survival of the Crown’. Both books discuss the position of Lady Margaret Douglas, later Countess of Lennox in some detail. Her importance should not be underestimated, particularly as ‘Bloody’ Mary I, considered her as heir […]

What happened to “the four Marys” (Beaton, Seton, Fleming, and Livingston) after the death of their lady, Mary, Queen of Scots?

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The four ‘Maries’ accompanied Mary Queen of Scots as a child to France in 1548 and remained her closest lifelong friends. Mary Beaton was the daughter of the head of Mary’s household, who accompanied her, and the others were the daughters of the three noble families closest to the Stewart Court. They had taken a […]

The Bath of Diana - Francois Clouet (Musée de Beaux Arts, Tours)

The Bath of Diana

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On 30 June 1559, Henry II of France arranged a spectacular jousting tournament at the Palais de Tournelles, his residence in Paris, as part of the celebrations for two marriages. His daughter Elisabeth de Valois was marrying by proxy Philip II of Spain, now a widower after the death, nineteen months earlier, of ‘Bloody’ Mary […]

The Atholl Inheritance

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In researching for my book “The Survival of the Crown“, the second volume of my history of Mary Queen of Scots and James VI, I came across the complex efforts made by James VI to protect the posterity of the Earldom of Atholl after the failure (on two occasions) of the male line. In 1595, John Stewart, […]

The Erskine Claim to the Earldom of Mar

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When I started writing ‘The Challenge to the Crown‘, I undertook a significant amount of research into my wife’s grandmother’s family, the Erskines. The Erskines laid claim to the Earldom of Mar, the senior Scottish Earldom, although they gained this by marriage. This account shows the initial fragility of their claim and explains the reasons […]

The Rothes Inheritance

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In researching my history of Mary Queen of Scots in The Challenge to the Crown, I became confused that the Earl of Rothes, who was a loyal adherent of Lord James Stewart, Earl of Moray, seemed suddenly to change sides and to support Mary. I then discovered that I was dealing with two different people. […]