Sir William Kirkcaldy of Grange 1530-1573

Sir William Kirkcaldy of Grange was the son of Sir James Kirkcaldy, Lord High Treasurer under James V. His mother was Janet Melville sister of the five Melville brother who played such a prominent part as civil servants and diplomats during the reign of Mary Queen of Scots. He first came to notice in 1546 […]

Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley 1545-1567

Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley was the eldest son of Matthew Stuart, 4th Earl of Lennox and Lady Margaret Douglas, niece of Henry VIII. He was born on 7 December 1546, and was four years younger than Mary Queen of Scots.  He and his brother Charles, nine years his junior, were the only two of the […]

Lady Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox 1515-1578

On 8 October 1515, Princess Margaret Tudor, Queen Dowager of Scotland and sister of Henry VIII, gave birth to her daughter, Margaret, by her second husband, Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus. She had recently been forced to hand over the Scottish Regency to the Duke of Albany, who had arrived from France, and had […]

Catherine de Medici 1519- 1589

Catherine de Medici owed her position as consort of Henri II to the political manoeuvring of her father-in-law, Francis I of France and his alliances with Popes Leo X and Pope Clement VII, both members of the Florentine de Medici family, to combat Spain and the Holy Roman Empire. The Medicis were not longstanding French […]

Francis II, King of France 1544-1560

Catherine de Medici was aged twenty-four and had been married to Henry II of France for ten years, before she at last conceived a child. In desperation she had turned to a Doctor, Jean Fernel, for advice. No one knows what he said, but he proposed a solution to the problem said to involve a […]

Mary of Guise, Queen Regent of Scotland, 1515-1560

Following the death of the consumptive Queen Madeleine, daughter of Francis I of France, James V of Scotland sent the newly appointed Cardinal Bethune to Paris in early 1538 to find him a new French bride.  The chosen spouse was Marie of Guise born in 1515, daughter of the powerful Claude, Duke of Guise. She […]

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 […]