On this day in 1542, Mary, Queen of Scots, was born. The only legitimate child of King James V of Scotland, Mary succeeded the throne six days later, upon her father’s death, and was crowned on September 9, 1543.
Though Mary was the queen of Scotland, she was raised in France. In 1558, she married Francis II, Dauphin of France, and became queen consort of France when Francis II was crowned King in 1559. Almost a year after King Francis II’s death in 1560, Mary returned to Scotland to begin her reign as queen regnant of Scotland.
However, her reign ended in 1567 when she was forced to renounce the throne and pass the crown over to her one-year-old son, James, from her second marriage to Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. Seeking the protection of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, Mary fled to England where she spent the rest of her life – mostly confined, as she was considered a legitimate heir to English throne and a threat to Elizabeth.
Mary was eventually beheaded on February 8, 1587 after being convicted of plotting to assassinate Elizabeth.