A Prince is Born


On 19 June 1566 the guns were fired at Edinburgh Castle and over 500 bonfires were lit around Edinburgh and its neighbouring communities. The reason for this rejoicing was two fold, not only had Mary Queen of Scots been delivered and survived the birth of her child, but the child was a boy.


After a long and difficult birth within the stalwart confines of Edinburgh Castle, ‘a very goodly child’ who was later named James took his first breath between 10 and 11 o’clock in the morning. Although the prince when he eventually did arrived was completely healthy Mary was heard to joke during her ordeal ‘that if she had known the process was so painful, she would not have got married’

Mary Queen of Scots had entered her confinement chamber just over two weeks before and due to the precious nature of 16th century childbirth made her will in case tragedy struck and her or both her and the child died.

A peak into the details of Mary’s will and the provision she made for her child in the event of her death speak volumes about the relationship between Mary and the child’s father Lord Darnley. Mary did not make provision for her husband to be sole Governor or Protector of their child, but instead only named him as part of a council of regents which included the newly created Earl of Mar and the Earl of Argyll.


This wasn’t the only signal of the couple’s disintegrating relationship or Mary’s disgust for her degenerate spouse. When it came to disposing of her jewels Mary favoured her Guise relations, her Scottish family and even her Ladies before her husband. In fact the bequests made to him only amounted to her wedding ring and other jewels which the Lennox family had gifted her before and on her marriage.

With mother and infant son in robust health after Mary’s labour, Prince James’s father was looking at an increasingly marginalised and uncertain future. The succession had been secured and Darnley had enemies at the Scottish Court eager to find a solution to the ‘Darnley problem’


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