Mary of Guise (1515-1560)

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Mary of Guise was born 1515 to Claude de Guise (1496-1550) and Antoinette de Vendôme (1493-1583) and died 1560 of unspecified causes. She married James V of Scotland (1512-1542) 12 June 1538 in St. Andrews, Fife. Notable ancestors include Charlemagne (747-814), Alfred the Great (849-899), Henry II of England (1133-1189), William I of England (1027-1087), Hugh Capet (c940-996), Rurik (c832-879). Ancestors are from France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Russia, Ukraine, Italy, Hungary, Switzerland, Byzantium, the Czech Republic, Belarus, England, Austria, the Byzantine Empire.

Mary of Guise (French: Marie de Guise) (22 November 1515 – 11 June 1560) was the Lorraine-born queen consort of Scotland as the second spouse of King James V. She was the mother of Mary, Queen of Scots, and served as regent of Scotland in her daughter's name from 1554 to 1560. She was a member of the powerful House of Guise, which placed a prominent role in 16th century French politics.

Duchess of LonguevilleEdit

Mary was born at Bar-le-Duc, Lorraine, the eldest daughter of Claude of Lorraine, Duke of Guise, head of the French 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.

On 4 August 1534, at the age of 18, she married Louis II, Duke of Longueville (born 1510), becoming the Duchess of Longueville, at the Louvre in a union that turned out to be happy but brief. On 30 October 1535, Mary gave birth to her first son, Francis, but on 9 June 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 'bon mari et ami,' her good husband and friend Louis, which mentioned his illness and explained his absence at Rouen, and it can still be seen at the National Library of Scotland. On 4 August, Mary gave birth to their second son, who was named Louis after his deceased father. Louis died very young, but Francis wrote letters to his mother in Scotland; on 22 March 1545 he sent a piece of string to show how tall he was, and on 2 July 1546 he sent her his portrait.

Scottish marriageEdit

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 and beheading his second wife – Mary refused the offer. In December 1537, Henry VIII told Castillon, the French ambassador in London, that he was big in person and had need of a big wife.Biographer Antonia Fraser writing in 1968 said Mary replied, "I may be a big woman, but I have very little neck." This was apparently a tribute to the famously macabre jest made by Henry's French-educated second wife, Anne Boleyn, who had joked before her death that the executioner would find killing her easy because she had "a little neck."

Francis I of France accepted James's proposals over Henry's and conveyed his wishes to Mary's father. Francis had a marriage contract prepared offering James a dowry as large as if Mary were a princess Mary's mother found the contract "marvellous strange" because the king had included Mary's son's inheritance in the dowry. David Beaton had travelled to France for the marriage negotiations. He wrote to James V from Lyons on 22 October 1537 that Mary was: "stark (strong), well-complexioned, and fit to travel." Mary received the news with shock and alarm, as she did not wish to leave family and country, especially as she had just lost her first husband and her younger son. Her father tried to delay matters apparently until James, perhaps sensing her reluctance, wrote to her, appealing for her advice and support. However the authenticity of this letter, which was first produced in 1935, has been questioned. Finally, Mary accepted the offer and hurried plans for departure.

On 18 May 1538, at Notre-Dame de Paris, James V and Mary of Guise were married with Lord Maxwell acting as proxy. Accompanied by a fleet of ships sent by James, Mary left France in June, forced to leave her little son behind. She landed in Fife on 10 June and was formally received by James. They were married in person a few days later at St Andrews. James's mother, Margaret Tudor, wrote to Henry VIII in July, 'I trust she will prove a wise Princess. I have been much in her company, and she bears herself very honourably to me, with very good entertaining.' The Duke of Guise sent her masons and miners, an armourer, and she had a French painter to decorate her palaces, Pierre Quesnel. She was crowned as Queen Consort at Holyrood Abbey on 22 February 1540. Preparations for her coronation began in October 1539 when the jeweller John Mosman made a new crown and her silver sceptre was gilded. Payments made for the ceremony include: for hanging tapestries; carrying church furnishings from the Palace chapel into the Abbey; eleven chaplains; boards for stages in the Abbey; and messengers were sent to summon the ladies of the kingdom. A salute of 30 guns was fired from David's Tower on Edinburgh Castle.

James and Mary had two sons. James Stewart, Duke of Rothesay was born 22 May 1540 at St Andrews. Robert was born 24 April 1541, but both died in April 1541, only days after Robert's baptism. Her mother Antoinette of Bourbon wrote that the couple were still young and should hope. She thought a change of wet-nurse and over-feeding may not have helped. The third and last child of the union was a daughter, Mary, who was born on 8 December 1542. King James died six days later, making young Mary queen regnant of Scotland.


Offspring of Mary of Guise and Louis II de Longueville
Name Birth Death Joined with
François d'Orléans-Longueville
Louis d'Orléans-Longueville

Offspring of Mary of Guise and James V of Scotland (1512-1542)
Name Birth Death Joined with
James Stewart, Duke of Rothesay (1540-1541)
Arthur Stewart, Duke of Albany (1541-1541)
Mary of Scotland (1542-1586) 8 December 1542 Linlithgow, West Lothian, Scotland, United Kingdom 8 February 1586 Fotheringham Castle, Northamptonshire, England, United Kingdom François II of Angouleme (1544-1560)
Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley (1545-1567)
James Hepburn, Duke of Orkney (c1536-1578)

Common ancestors of Mary of Guise (1515-1560) and James V of Scotland (1512-1542)

  1. Adolf IV. von der Mark (1373-1448)
  2. Arnold van Egmont (1410-1473)
  3. Jan II van Egmond (1384-1451)
  4. Katharina von Kleve (1417-1479)
  5. Maria van Arkel (c1385-1415)
  6. Marie of Burgundy (1393-1463)
  7. Pierre I de St Pol (1390-1433)

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