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‘Having always been fascinated by the Tudors, this book is essential reading for me – it’s as good as a Philippa Gregory, and tells you so much more about Mary Queen of Scots and the people with whom she surrounded herself…’
Mary Queen of Scots’ Secretary
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.
Marketing & sales highlights
- This is the first biography of Maitland written since 1912 despite his pivotal role in the history of Mary Queen of Scots.
- It provides a logical understanding of his split personality, described by Buchanan as ‘chameleon-like’, being both personally loyal to Mary, while also being politically the architect of the loss of her throne.
- It provides a new slant on the murder of Darnley, previously investigated in Mary Queen of Scots’ Downfall.
- It provides an incisive exposé of the actions of the Scottish Lords and their self-seeking motives in wanting Mary removed from the Scottish throne. Most importantly it highlights the role of William Cecil, Elizabeth’s devious Secretary of State in manipulating them to follow his objectives.
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What people are saying
'The book tells of the struggle of Queen Mary's quest to keep the throne and to continue the succession line for Scotland and Maitland's role that he played in the rollercoaster ride (keeping Mary on the throne and her being arrested) of her reign. This would be a perfect read for Royal History buffs.'
NetGalley, Leslie Hartman
'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
'Loved this book I have read lots of books on Mary Queen of Scots but learned new things from reading this Well written and very informative'