This article is about the Historical figure Mary of Guise (1515-1560) you may be looking for the Reign character Marie de Guise.

Mary of Guise (French: Marie de Guise; November 22, 1515 – June 11, 1560) was Queen of Scotland as the second spouse of King James V. She was the mother of Mary, Queen of Scotland, and served as regent of Scotland in her daughter's name from 1554 to 1560.

Early Life & Childhood Edit

On November 22, 1515, Mary was born at Bar-le-Duc, Lorraine, the eldest daughter of Claude of Lorraine, Duke of Guise, head of the House of Guise, and his wife Antoinette de Bourbon, herself the daughter of Francis, Count of Vendome, and Marie de Luxembourg. Among her 11 siblings were Francis, Duke of Guise; Claude, Duke of Aumale; Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine; and Louis I, Cardinal of Guise.

When Mary was five, she was godmother for her younger sister Louise. Not long after, she joined her grandmother Philippa of Guelders in the convent Clarisse to Pont-à-Mousson. Her uncle Antoine, Duke of Lorraine and her aunt Renée of Bourbon visited Philippa there when Mary was about fourteen. Impressed by their niece's qualities and stature, they took her away from the convent and prepared her for life at the French court. In 1531, Mary made her first appearance there at the marriage between Francis I and Eleanor of Austria. She established a friendship with the king's daughters Madeleine, whom she would later succeed as Queen of Scotland, and Margaret.

Physical Description Edit

Mary was tall and her mother mentioned in a letter that she suffered from bad colds and had greasy hair.

Queen of Scotland Edit

Later in 1537, Mary became the focus of marriage negotiations with James V of Scotland, who had lost his first wife, Madeleine of Valois, due to tuberculosis, and wanted a second French bride to further the interests of the Franco-Scottish alliance against England. According to a 17th-century writer, James V had noticed the attractions of Mary when he went to France to meet Madeleine and Mary of Bourbon, and she was next in his affections. It is known that Mary attended the wedding of James and Madeleine. The recently widowed Henry VIII of England, in attempts to prevent this union, also asked for Mary's hand. Given Henry's marital history: banishing his first wife and beheading the second – Mary refused the offer.

Marie was crowned Queen at Holyrood Abbey on February 22, 1540. Preparations for her coronation began in October 1539 when the jeweler John Mosman made a new crown and her silver scepter was gilded. Payments made for the ceremony include hanging tapestries; carrying church furnishings from the Palace chapel into the Abbey; eleven chaplains; boards for stages in the Abbey; and messengers sent to summon the ladies of the kingdom. A salute of 30 guns was fired from David's Tower on Edinburgh Castle, and there were fireworks devised by James and made by his royal gunners.

Queen Regent of Scotland Edit

In December 1552, Mary of Austria, Queen of Hungary, sister of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, pointed out to Mary that her diplomatic complaints had no force and must come from Arran. Furthermore, she was dissatisfied by Mary's evident friendship with France. Mary's power was increasing: in May 1553, the imperial ambassador in London, Jean Scheyfve, heard she had challenged Arran's regency and proposed James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray, her illegitimate step-son, as a replacement. Mary herself became regent on April 12, 1554. The eleven-year-old Queen Mary I sent her congratulations to "la Royne, ma mere" from the Château de Meudon at Easter, where she was staying with her grandmother and her uncle, the Cardinal of Lorraine.

In many affairs, Mary of Guise consulted her brothers in France – the Cardinal of Lorraine, and Francis, Duke of Guise, both of whom held government positions – so that Scotland and France worked as allies in dealing with other nations. Henry II's representative in Scotland from 1546 to 1560 was an ambassador resident, Henri Cleutin, who had been effectively in charge of Scotland during her trip to France. During her regency (1554–60), Frenchmen were put in charge of the treasury and the Great Seal, while the French ambassador sometimes attended the Privy Council. Yves de Rubay was Master of Requests and Keeper of the Seals and Bartholomew de Villemore was Comptroller and Receiver-General of Revenue. Although Cleutin seems to have been universally popular, the resentment of the Scottish nobility at these appointments fuelled the coming crisis.

Mary quickly began to deal effectively with Scottish affairs. In July 1554, she travelled to Jedburgh to hold a Justice Ayre for a fortnight, hoping to quell the longstanding feud between the Scott and Kerr border clans. She was escorted by armed horsemen commanded by Cleutin. In the Autumn she paid for a ship, troops and a cannon to help the Earl of Sutherland arrest Iye du Mackay, Lord Reay, who had caused mischief in Sutherland. With much less success the Earls of Huntly and Argyll were dispatched to pass with fire and sword to Moidart and Lewis. Huntly's failure led to his imprisonment. During another progress in 1556 she visited Inverness, Ross, Elgin, Banff and Aberdeen. These domestic efforts were hampered by the outbreak of international conflict in January 1557. An apparent set-back occurred in October, when Guise went south to Hume Castle and sent an army towards England. Instructed to cross the border and attack Wark Castle, the Scottish lords held their own council at Eckford and returned home.

Conflict with the Protestants Edit

Mary's regency was threatened, however, by the growing influence of the Scottish Protestants. To an extent, Mary of Guise had tolerated the growing number of Protestant preachers. She needed to win support for her pro-French policies, and they could expect no alternative support from England, when Mary Tudor ruled. The marriage of Mary, Queen of Scots, to the dauphin of France on April 24, 1558 was quickly followed by Mary Tudor's death and the succession to the throne of England by Elizabeth on 17 November 1558. Mary Stuart's claim and rights of succession to the English throne depended in part on the Papal view of Elizabeth's legitimacy. If Henry II of France was to pursue Mary's claim with the Pope, as part of an ambitious plan that Scotland and England would succumb to French domination, he needed Scotland to be a secure Catholic country. Some modern historians such as Pamela E. Ritchie believe that the change to Guise's policy was not dramatic, but both Catholic and Protestant would perceive and react to the tense political situation. As the Scottish Reformation crisis was developing, Henry II died on July 10, 1559, and Mary Stuart became Queen Consort of France. In France, Mary and Francis II began to publicly display the arms of England in their blazon. This too was a motivation for English intervention in Scottish affairs.

In 1557, a group of Scottish lords who became known as the "Lords of the Congregation", drew up a covenant to "maintain, set forth, and establish the most blessed Word of God and his Congregation". This was followed by outbreaks of iconoclasm in 1558/59. At the same time, plans were being drawn up for a Reformed program of parish worship and preaching, as local communities sought out Protestant ministers. In 1558, the Regent summoned the Protestant preachers to answer for their teaching, but backed down when lairds from the west country threatened to revolt.

Marriage & Family Edit

Marie de Guise was married twice and had children by both of her husbands.

On August 4, 1534, at the age of 18, Mary became Duchess of Longueville by marrying Louis II d'Orléans, Duke of Longueville (born 1510), at the Château du Louvre. Their 2 year 10 month union turned out to be quite happy. On June 9, 1537, Louis died at Rouen and left her a widow at the age of 21. For the rest of her life, Mary kept the last letter from her good husband and friend Louis, which mentioned his illness and explained his absence at Rouen.

The couple had 2 sons

  • On October 30, 1535, Mary gave birth to her first son, Francis III, Duke of Longueville
  • On August 4, 1537, which would have been her third wedding anniversary; Mary gave birth to their second son, who was named Louis after his deceased father. Louis died very young.

The Wedding of King James V of Scotland and Marie de Guise was held by proxy on May 18, 1538 at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

The King and Queen had 3 children:

  • James Stuart, Duke of Rothesay, was born May 22, 1540 at St Andrews, and died on April 21, 1541 when he was less than a year old.
  • Robert Stuart, Duke of Albany was born and baptized on April 12, 1541, then died on April 21, 1541 when he was only eight days old
  • Mary, Queen of Scotland who was born on December 8, 1542, and died February 8, 1587 at the age of 44

Death Edit

While continuing to fortify Edinburgh Castle, Mary became seriously ill, and over the course of the next eight days her mind began to wander; some days she could not even speak. On June 8 she made her will. She died of dropsy on June 11, 1560. Her body was wrapped in lead and kept in Edinburgh castle for several months. In March 1561 it was secretly carried from the castle at midnight and shipped to France. Mary, Queen of Scots attended her funeral at Fécamp in July 1561. Mary of Guise was interred at the church in the Convent of Saint-Pierre in Reims, where Mary's sister Renée was abbess. A marble tomb was erected with a bronze statue of Mary, in royal robes, holding a scepter and the rod of justice in one hand. The tomb was destroyed during the French revolution. Of Mary's five children, only her daughter Mary survived her.

See Also Edit

Marie de Guise Timeline (Historical)

References Edit


  • James V & Marie de Guise as King and Queen of Scotland
  • Antoinette de Bourbon, Duchess of Guise, Marie's mother
  • Claude, Duke of Guise, Marie's father
  • Mary, Queen of Scotland; Marie's daughter and only surviving child
  • Coat of Arms of Mary of Guise as Queen of Scotland
  • Coat of Arms of Mary of Guise as Duchess of Longueville
  • Wedding of Marie's paternal grandparents: Philippa of Guelders & René II, Duke of Lorraine
  • Francis, Count of Vendôme, Marie's Maternal Grandfather
  • Marie of Luxembourg, Countess of Vendôme, Marie's Maternal Grandmother
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