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Mary Of Lorraine

MARY OF LORRAINE (1515-1560), generally known as MARY OF GUISE, queen of James V. and afterwards regent of Scotland, was born at Bar on the 22nd of November 1515. She was the eldest child of Claude of Guise and Antoinette of Bourbon, and married in 1534 Louis II. of Orleans, duke of Longueville, to whom in 1535 she bore a son, Francis (d. 1551). The duke died in June 1537, and Mary was sought in marriage by James V., whose wife Magdalene died in July, and by Henry VIII. after the death of Jane Seymour. Henry persisted in his offers after the announcement of her betrothal to James V. Mary, who was made by adoption a daughter of France, received a papal dispensation for her marriage with James, which was celebrated by proxy in Paris (May 1538) and at St Andrews on her arrival in Scotland. Her two sons, James (b. May 1540) and Robert or Arthur (b. April 1541), died within a few days of one another in April 1541, and her husband died in December 1542, within a week of the birth of his daughter and heiress, Mary, Queen of Scots. Cardinal David Beton, the head of the French and Catholic party and therefore Mary of Lorraine's friend and ally, produced a will of the late king in which the primacy in the regency was assigned to himself. John Knox accused the queen of undue intimacy with Beton, and a popular report of a similar nature, probably unfounded, was revived in 1543 by Sir Ralph Sadler, the English envoy. Beton was arrested and the regency fell to the heir presumptive James, earl of Arran, whose inclinations were towards England and the Protestant party, and who hoped to secure the hand of the infant princess for his own son.

Mary of Lorraine was approached by the English commissioner, Sir Ralph Sadler, to induce her to further her daughter's marriage contract with Edward VI. She informed Sadler that Arran had asked her whether Henry had made propositions of marriage to herself, and that she had stated that " if Henry should mind or offer her such an honour she must account herself much bounden." Sadler further learnt that she was " singularly well affected to Henry's desires." The marriage treaty between Mary, not then one year old, and Edward VI. was signed on the 1st of July at Greenwich, and guaranteed that Mary should be placed in Henry's keeping when she was ten years old. The queen dowager and her daughter were carefully watched at Linlithgow, but on the 23rd of July 1543 they escaped, with the help of Cardinal Beton, to the safer walls of Stirling castle. After the queen's coronation in September Mary of Lorraine was made principal member of the council appointed to direct the affairs of the kingdom. She was constantly in communication with her kinsmen in France, and was already planning to secure for her daughter a French alliance, which was opposed on different grounds by all her advisers. She made fresh alliances with the earl of Angus and Sir George Douglas, and in 1544 she made a premature attempt to seize the regency; but a reconciliation with Arran was brought about by Cardinal Beton. The assassination of Beton left her the cleverest politician in Scotland. The English invasions of 1547, undertaken with a view to enforcing the English marriage, gave Mary the desired pretext for a French alliance. In June 1548 a French fleet, with provisions and 5000 soldiers on board, under the command of Andre de Montalembert, seigneur d'Essfi, landed at Leith to reinforce the Scots army, and laid siege to Haddington, then in the hands of the English. The Scottish parliament agreed to the marriage of the young queen with the dauphin of France, and, on the plea of securing her safety from English designs, she set sail from Dumbarton in August 1548 to complete her education at the French court.

Mary of Lorraine now gave her energies to the expulsion of the English and to the difficult task of keeping the peace between the Scots and their French auxiliaries. In September 1550 she visited France and obtained from Henry II. the confirmation of the dukedom and revenues of Chatelherault for the earl of Arran, in the hope of inducing him to resign the regency. On her way back to Scotland she was driven by storms to Portsmouth harbour and paid a friendly visit to Edward VI. Arran refused, however, to relinquish the regency until April 1554, when he resigned after receiving an assurance of his rights to the succession. The new regent had to deal with an empty exchequer and with a strong opposition to her daughter's marriage with the dauphin. The gift of high offices of state to Frenchmen lent to the Protestant opposition the aspect of a national resistance to foreign domination. The hostility of Arran and his brother Archbishop Hamilton forced Mary into friendly relations with the lords who favoured the Protestant party. Soon after her marriage miners had been brought from Lorraine to dig for gold at Crawford Moor, and she now carried on successful mining enterprises for coal and lead, which enabled her to meet the expenses of her government. In 1554 she took into her service William Maitland of Lethington, who as secretary of state gained very great influence over her. She also provoked a dangerous enemy in John Knox by her expressed contempt for a letter which he had written to her, but the first revolt against her authority arose from an attempt to establish a standing army. When she provoked a war with England in 1557 the nobles refused to cross the border. In matters of religion she at first tried to hold the balance between the Catholic and Protestant factions and allowed the Presbyterian preachers the practice of their religion so long as they refrained from public preachings in Edinburgh and Leith. The marriage of Francis II. and her daughter Mary in 1558 strengthened her position, and in 1559 she relinquished her conciliatory tactics to submit to the dictation of her relatives, the Guises, by falling more into line with their religious policy. She was reconciled with Archbishop Hamilton, and took up arms against the Protestants of Perth, who, incited by Knox, had destroyed the Charterhouse, where many of the Scottish kings were buried. The reformers submitted on condition that no foreign garrison was to be imposed on Perth and that the religious questions in dispute should be brought before the Scottish parliament. Mary of Lorraine broke the spirit of this agreement by garrisoning Perth with Scottish troops in the pay of France. The lords of the Congregation soon assembled in considerable force on Cupar Muir. Mary retreated to Edinburgh and thence to Dunbar, while Edinburgh opened its gates to the reformers, who issued a proclamation (Oct. 21, 1559) claiming that the regent was deposed. The lords of the Congregation sought help from Elizabeth, while the regent had recourse to France, where an expedition under her brother, Rene of Lorraine, marquis of Elbeuf, was already in preparation. Mary, with the assistance of a French contingent, began to fortify Leith. The strength of her opponents was increased by the defection of Chatelherault and his son Arran; and an even more serious danger was the treachery of her secretary Maitland, who betrayed her plans to the lords of the Congregation. In October 1559 they made an unsuccessful attack on Leith and the seizure of an English convoy on the way to their army by James Hepburn, earl of Bothwell, increased their difficulties. Mary entered Edinburgh and conducted a campaign in Fife. Meanwhile Maitland of Lethington had been at the English court, and an English fleet under William Winter was sent to the Forth in January 1560 to waylay Elbeuf 's fleet, which was, however, driven back by a storm to Calais. Elbeuf had been commissioned by Francis I. and Mary to take over Mary's regency on account of her failing health. An English army under Lord Grey entered Scotland on the 29th of March 1560, and the regent received an asylum in Edinburgh castle, which was held strictly neutral by John Erskine. When she knew that she was dying Mary sent for the lords of -the Congregation, with whom she pleaded for the maintenance of the French alliance. She even consented to listen to the exhortations of the preacher John Willock. She died on the nth of June 1560. Her body was taken to Reims and buried in the church of the nunnery of St Peter, of which her sister was abbess.

The chief sources for her history are the Calendar of State Papers for the reigns of Henry VIII. and Edward VI. in the Rolls Series; A. Teulet, Papiers d'etat . . . relatifs & I'histoire de l'cosse au XVI' siecle (Paris, 3 vols., 1851), for the Bannatyne Club; Hamilton Papers, ed. J. Bain (Edinburgh, 2 vols., 1890-1899); Calendar of State Papers relating to Scotland and Mary Queen of Scots, 1547-1603 (Edinburgh, 2 vols., 1898-1900), etc. There is a Life in Miss Strickland's Queens of Scotland (vols. i.-ii.) based on original documents.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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