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Queen Mary of Scotland

Mary depicted with her son, James VI

Death of Mary Queen of Scots

Feb 8

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"To be kind to all, to like many and love a few, to be needed and wanted by those we love, is certainly the nearest we can come to happiness."

~ Mary Stuart (1542-1587)

The tragic life of Mary Queen of Scots ended this day of her execution, Feb 8, 1587. Her reign began in 1542 when she was just six days old, and was marked by a series of regencies due to her infancy and later, her absence in France. Her personal life, marked by marriages that were politically and personally challenging, and her forced abdication in favor of her son, James VI, in 1567, further complicated her reign as Scotland attempted to politically navigate the conflicts between Protestant and Catholic factionalism. Despite her eventual imprisonment and execution by her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I of England, in 1587, Mary's legacy in Scotland is one of resilience, charm, and a tragic figure caught in the power struggles of her time. Some 39 poems have been attributed to Mary, some circulated only in manuscript, some written in the margins of her prayer book, and others published and circulated widely in the 16th and 17th centuries. Although some of these poems were likely not written by her, all however, were circulated as Mary’s writing and under her signature at the time – meaning she was one of the most widely-read women writers of the 16th century! This stately strathspey by John Drewry reflects Mary's love of dancing, for which she was condemned by Protestant Reformer John Knox who also took to task her elaborate dress! 👑 💃 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 💗 🌹❤️

Queen Mary of Scotland

Mary Queen of Scots harbored a profound passion for dancing that reflected both her cultural heritage and personal tastes. Growing up in the French court, where she was sent at the tender age of five, Mary was immersed in a world where dancing was not only a form of entertainment but also a sophisticated means of social communication and courtly intrigue. The French court, known for its lavish celebrations and elaborate dances, undoubtedly influenced Mary's own love for this art form. She embraced dancing with enthusiasm, seeing it as an outlet for expression and a way to forge connections within the elite circles of her time. 

Upon her return to Scotland as queen, Mary brought with her the sophisticated tastes and customs of the French court, including her love for dancing. Despite the more austere religious climate in Scotland, she continued to enjoy and promote dancing at her court, despite the criticism levied against her in the climate of the Scottish reformation.

Aside from her love of dancing, Mary was an avid writer of poetry.  For more on her poetry, click the portrait of Mary in captivity, by Nicholas Hilliard, c. 1578.

Queen Mary of Scotland

Click the dance cribs or description below to link to a printable version of the dance!

Queen Mary of Scotland

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