Maria Stuart

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Maria Stuart around 1558
Portrait by François Clouet
Signature of Mary I of Scotland

Mary Stuart (* December 8, 1542 in Linlithgow Palace , † February 8, July / February 18,  1587 greg. In Fotheringhay Castle ), born as Mary Stewart , was from December 14, 1542 to July 24, 1567 as Mary I . Queen of Scotland , as well as her marriage to Francis II. from 1559 to 1560 also Queen of France ; she came from the House of Stuart .

Since Scotland was shaken by political and religious turmoil at the time of her birth, Mary Queen of Scots was brought to France as a child and raised alongside her future husband Francis II. Due to his untimely death, she was widowed at the age of 17 and returned to Scotland in 1561. There she did not succeed in defusing the numerous tensions among the competing noble families. After the murder of her second husband, Lord Darnley, in February 1567, in which she was accused of complicity, she came under increasing domestic political pressure, as a result of which she was imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle in June 1567 and had to abdicate in favor of her son Jacob . After her flight and a lost battle on May 13, 1568 near Langside, she went into exile in England. The second half of her life was marked by an ongoing conflict with Queen Elizabeth I , which was based, among other things, on a claim to the English royal throne. After Mary Stuart was suspected of being involved in a planned assassination attempt on the English queen, she was executed for high treason in 1587.

Due to the numerous artistic adaptations of her life story , she is one of the most famous Scottish monarchs.


Early childhood

Maria Stuart at the age of 13 years
portrait by François Clouet

Mary was the daughter of King Jacob V of Scotland and his second wife Marie de Guise . Her paternal grandmother was the English Princess Margaret Tudor , older sister of Henry VIII , which is why Mary Stuart was entitled to the English throne. This fact and especially her self-image as the heir to the English crown should make her the most dangerous opponent of Queen Elizabeth , who as her father's cousin was her second aunt.

King James V died at the Falkland Palace at the age of 30 . Scotland had just been defeated by the English at the Battle of Solway Moss , and Mary's father was still mourning his two sons, who had died the year before, on his deathbed when he heard news of the birth of a daughter. He is said to have commented on the event with the words: “It began with a girl, it will end with a girl! (It began with a lass, and it will end with a lass!) ”. This was an allusion to the Stewart dynasty , which had ascended the throne by marrying Marjorie Bruce , daughter of Robert I , and which now threatened to go under with a newborn queen.

Mary, who was only six days old, was now Queen of Scotland. James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Arran , next in line to the throne, was regent until 1554, then was succeeded by the Queen Mother, who ruled until her own death in 1560. In July 1543, six months after Mary was born, it was contractually agreed that she would meet with the future English King Edward VI nine years later . should be married and that their heirs should rule England and Scotland in personal union. On September 9, 1543, Mary Queen of Scots was formally crowned Queen of Scots at Stirling Castle , wearing royal robes that had been specially tailored to her height, but otherwise largely corresponded to the original.

The treaty with England was dissolved by the Scottish Parliament at the end of 1543, a few weeks after the coronation . Henry VIII had demanded that Scotland should dissolve its traditional Auld Alliance with France (defensive alliance between the two countries against England), which was rejected. Then Henry ordered to attack Scotland. This war between Scotland and England was later referred to as " Rough Wooing " (German: male advertising). In May 1544 Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset , reached the port of Leith with his fleet . His job was to take Edinburgh and kidnap the young queen. But Marie de Guise hid her daughter in the secret rooms of Stirling Castle.

On September 10, 1547, the Scots suffered a devastating defeat in the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh . Marie de Guise first took her daughter to safety at the Inchmahome priory and then turned to the French ambassador. The new French King Henry II proposed the unification of Scotland with France by marrying his firstborn son Franz .

In February 1548 Marie de Guise sent her daughter to Dumbarton Castle. In the meantime the English had invaded Scottish territory several times. They captured the strategically important city of Haddington , but were driven there by the French army in June. On July 7th, the marriage agreement between Mary and Francis II was signed in a nunnery near Haddington. On August 7, 1548, the French fleet cast off at Dumbarton and brought the five-year-old queen to France. The attacks by the English lasted until June 1551 and weakened the country seriously.

Miniature of Francis II and Mary of France around 1558

Marriage in France

According to contemporary reports, Maria was lively, pretty, and intelligent during her childhood. In her exile in France she was accompanied by her own little court, consisting of two lords, two half-brothers and the "four Marys", four girls of the same age, all named Mary and daughters of the most respected noble families in Scotland: Beaton, Seton, Fleming, and Livingston. At the French court, she received the best possible upbringing and instruction in her native Scots , Latin , Spanish , Italian and possibly Greek . The French language was her mother tongue all her life. She also learned two musical instruments as well as horse riding, falconry and needlework . During this time she took the surname Stuart, the French spelling of Stewart.

On April 24, 1558, according to the contract, she married the one year younger Dauphin , the heir to the French throne. The splendid wedding ceremony took place in the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral .

Her father-in-law Heinrich II died in 1559 and Maria's husband was enthroned as Franz II . With that she also became Queen of France. The fifteen-year-old king was weak, and the affairs of government in France effectively passed through Maria into the hands of her relatives, the already very powerful Guisen family . But this arrangement was short-lived; the young king fell ill and died a little later on December 5, 1560.

Maria's mother-in-law Katharina von Medici took over the regency for her third son, Charles IX. , a brother of Franz II. Already the end of Maria's time in France was foreseeable, since the regent and her daughter-in-law did not get along well. Maria contemptuously referred to Katharina as “a grocer's daughter from Florence”, an allusion to her Italian roots. According to the clauses of the Treaty of Edinburgh , signed in June 1560 after the death of Marie de Guise, France withdrew its troops from Scotland and recognized Elizabeth's rule over England. Eighteen-year-old Maria Stuart, who had remained in France, refused to sign the contract.

Maria Stuart as a 18 year old widow
Portrait by François Clouet

Return to Scotland

The young widow soon returned to Scotland via Calais and set foot on Scottish soil in Leith on August 19, 1561 . She intended to leave everything as she found it. At the same time, however, she claimed the freedom to practice her Catholic faith. Despite her talents, she was not prepared for the dangerous and complex political situation that prevailed in Scotland. The Reformation divided the people. Her illegitimate half-brother James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray , was the leader of the Protestants. Many of her subjects, like Elizabeth I , the monarch of the Protestant neighboring country England, met the devout Catholic Maria with suspicion. The reformer John Knox publicly railed against her and her way of life. She had some stormy personal encounters with him.

To the disappointment of the Catholics, Maria Stuart did not actively support their cause. She tolerated the new Protestant majority and made her Protestant half-brother James Stewart her main adviser. Under his leadership, she also toured the north of her empire and subjugated her cousin George Gordon, 4th Earl of Huntly , the leader of the Catholic opposition.

Attributed to Elizabeth I, Queen of England and Ireland,
Nicholas Hilliard

Tense relations with England

Elisabeth Tudor was born in 1558 after the death of her younger half-brother Edward VI. and her older half-sister Maria I ("Bloody Mary") became Queen of England. Her father Henry VIII married her mother Anne Boleyn while his first wife Katharina von Aragon was still alive . The Catholic Church did not recognize Heinrich's divorce from Katharina, regarded the marriage to Anne Boleyn as invalid and Elisabeth thus as an illegitimate child. However, illegitimate children were not entitled to inheritance, which is why, from a Catholic point of view, the crown should pass to the descendants of his sister Margaret Tudor after the extinction of Heinrich's legitimate descendants . Accordingly, after the death of Mary I of England in 1558, Henry II of France had his daughter-in-law Mary Stuart proclaimed Queen of England. From then on, Mary carried the royal coat of arms of England alongside the Scottish and French. Later on she always refused to give up her claim to the English throne, which was also reflected in her adherence to the rejection of the Treaty of Edinburgh. Many Catholics in England viewed Elizabeth as an illegitimate heir to the throne. They believed that Mary, as Henry VII's legitimate great-granddaughter, rightfully belonged to the English throne. Since she was descended from Henry's older sister, she was closer to the throne than the descendants of Henry's younger sister Mary Tudor , such as the Protestant sisters Mary and Catherine Gray . For these reasons, the Catholic Mary was a constant threat to Elisabeth and her Protestant court. Especially after Pope Pius V excommunicated Elizabeth I in 1570 and asked the Catholic minority in England to get rid of the "heretic" on the throne in order to restore the old Catholic Church with the help of Maria Stuart (Bulle Regnans in Excelsis ).

Maria Stuart tried to dispel the tension between herself and Elizabeth with an invitation to Edinburgh . However, Elisabeth refused to accept the invitation and tensions remained. Sir William Maitland (Maitland of Lethington) was sent as ambassador to the English court with the ulterior motive of securing their advantages on the English throne. Elisabeth's answer is narrated as follows: “In view of the dignity of the crown, I believe that it will never attain it in my time.” In a letter to her maternal uncle, François de Lorraine , Maria Stuart writes, however, that Maitland told her that Elisabeth's literal view was that "I do not believe I know anyone better, nor would I prefer anyone to her."

In December 1561 a meeting of the two was prepared in England, but Elizabeth changed her mind at short notice. The meeting should have taken place in York "or any other city" in August or September 1562. In July 1562, however, Elizabeth sent Sir Henry Sidney to Edinburgh to cancel the meeting because of the French Civil War. In 1563 Elizabeth tried again to neutralize Mary Queen of Scots by proposing a marriage to Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester , her own favorite and confidante. Dudley was English and Protestant and that would have solved both problems. Elizabeth sent another ambassador to Mary Queen of Scots with the message that if she were to marry someone after Elizabeth's election (meaning Lord Robert Dudley), she herself - Elizabeth - "would see to it that she [Mary Queen of Scots] had the attestation." as the next cousin and heir to the throne ”. This proposal fizzled out, not least because Robert Dudley himself did everything to prevent the marriage project.

Mary Queen of Scots (right) and her husband Lord Darnley

Marriage to Lord Darnley

The widowed Maria Stuart was offered the kings of Sweden, Denmark and France, Archduke Charles of Austria, Don Carlos of Spain, the Dukes of Ferrara, Namur and Anjou, the Earl of Arran and the Earl of Leicester as potential husbands. She showed a serious interest in Don Carlos, the Spanish heir to the throne, but Philip II finally decided against such a connection, which would have brought him too much at odds with England.

In 1565 she fell head over heels in love with her nineteen-year-old cousin Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley , son of the Earl of Lennox. This marriage would have brought his son into the immediate vicinity of the English throne. Darnley's mother was Margaret Douglas , Maria's aunt and, through her mother Margaret Tudor, niece of Henry VIII. But apart from this claim to the throne and his good looks, there was nothing that spoke for Darnley. He was fickle in character and prone to youthful antics. He was also three years younger than Maria. The wedding, however, was rushed to take place on July 29, 1565 (at Holyrood Palace ).

This marriage to a Catholic led Mary's half-brother James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray , to team up with other Protestant nobles and openly rebel. Maria went to Stirling on August 26, 1565 to face the rebels and returned to Edinburgh the following month to organize more troops. The rebellion was quickly put down and Moray fled into exile with his supporters.

The marriage angered Elisabeth too. She was of the opinion that the marriage should only have taken place with her permission because Darnley was an English subject. The marriage posed a threat to Elizabeth because of Darnley's royal blood. A child from this marriage would have had a legitimate claim to both Scottish and English thrones.

Jacob, son of Mary Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley, 1574

Just a few months after the wedding, the English ambassador reported growing tensions between the newlywed ruling couple. Lord Darnley's way of life caused scandals in Edinburgh, and Mary's disinterest was evident. Darnley was increasingly demanding that Parliament grant the real rights of a king. Maria granted him the royal title (crown matrimonial) , but did not want to give him any powers.

The close friendship and intimacy between Maria and her private secretary, David Rizzio, fueled Darnley's jealousy. He seemed to be listening to rumors that Rizzio was Maria's lover. So he made a pact with leading Protestant nobles. It was probably Darnley's aim to seize the title and position of King of Scotland. The aims of the co-conspirators remained unclear. Violence on the part of Scottish lords was not uncommon, political changes of sides were the order of the day.

On the evening of March 9, 1566, under Darnley's leadership, they entered the Queen's small dining room at Holyrood Palace. Darnley held the pregnant queen while the others stabbed Rizzio in the anteroom. When one of the conspirators tried to turn against the Queen, Darnley stood protectively in front of her. The conspirators placed the queen under house arrest, but she escaped with the help of her husband, whom she had persuaded to comply with his demands. Having reached safety, however, Maria distanced herself from her husband. His actions had alienated him from the queen and, from the point of view of the noble co-conspirators, had been compromised.

On June 19, 1566, their son, the future King James VI. , born in Edinburgh Castle . Darnley increasingly attracted the hatred of the Scottish lords and fled to Glasgow to his father, where he became seriously ill (presumably from syphilis or smallpox ). At Maria's request he returned to Edinburgh from Glasgow and recovered in the Kirk o'Field house, where Maria visited him frequently. This gave the impression that reconciliation between the couple was imminent.

James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, 1566

On February 10, 1567, there was a violent explosion in the house and Darnley was found dead in the garden. Since he was bare and showed no injuries, it is believed that he was strangled while trying to escape. It was clear that he had been murdered as part of a plot: as early as November 1566, in the presence of Mary at Craigmillar Castle , important nobles had sworn an oath (bond of manrent) that they would eliminate Darnley for the good of the state. Mary's involvement in the plan is often denied, but can hardly be seriously doubted.

Darnley's assassination damaged her reputation enormously. The main mastermind was very likely James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell , whom she had already visited spontaneously at his Hermitage Castle in October when she learned of his illness. There was a sham trial against Bothwell, in which he was acquitted on April 12, 1567. The population of Edinburgh could not be satisfied by this.

Marriage to Lord Bothwell

On April 24, 1567, Mary visited her son for the last time at Stirling Castle . On the way back to Edinburgh, she was abducted by Hepburn and his men, apparently without resistance, and spent a few days in Dunbar Castle . Now events came tumbling down: On May 3, 1567, Bothwell divorced his wife and three days later returned to Edinburgh with Maria. On May 12, 1567, Maria publicly forgave her kidnapper by making him Duke of Orkney . On May 15, 1567, just three months after Darnley was murdered, she married at Holyrood Palace what many believed to be the killer. This marriage very soon turned out to be a great mistake; because there was an uprising of the nobles who had previously been loyal to her and who demanded her abdication.

On June 15, 1567, Maria tried again at Carberry, near Edinburgh, to turn things around in her favor. But even the army she and Bothwell had rallied refused to fight for her. She had no choice but to surrender to the princes of her country. She was imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle , on an island in Loch Leven , under the rule of William Douglas, 6th Earl of Morton and the supervision of his mother Margaret Erskine , who was also the mother of Mary's half-brother James Stewart. He took over the reign after his return from France in August, after Maria had signed her abdication in favor of her son on July 24, 1567. The one year old boy was born five days later in the Holy Rude Church in Stirling as King James VI. crowned.

Maria Stuart's Escape from Loch Leven Castle by William Craig Shirreff (1805)

Escape to England

At Loch Leven Castle, Maria claims that she also suffered a miscarriage of twins. With the help of her young prison guard Willie Douglas, not to be confused with the lord of the castle William Douglas, she managed to escape on May 2, 1568, just under a year after her capture. A few days later, Maria led an army of about 6,000 loyal followers. However, this was crushed on May 13 at Langside (now a district of Glasgow ). Maria escaped and reached Carlisle six days later . There she asked Elisabeth for support against the rebelling Scottish nobles.

In principle, Elisabeth was not averse to helping Mary regain her Scottish throne, but Mary was still not ready to accept the Treaty of Edinburgh and formally renounce her claim to the English throne. Elizabeth thus wavered between recognizing the regime of the anti-Marian lords in Scotland and possibly helping Mary. First she wanted to clarify pro forma whether Maria should be convicted for the murder of Lord Darnley. Elizabeth ordered an investigation to be carried out in York between October 1568 and January 1569 . The investigation was politically influenced: Elisabeth did not want a conviction for murder or an acquittal.

Maria relied on the fact that she was a rightful queen and therefore could not be convicted by any court. Her half-brother, the Earl of Moray, had now taken over the affairs of state and was anxious to keep Maria out of Scotland and to control her followers.

Around them the Commission Scottish opponents called to burden presented Mary casket letters (Casket Letters) should have eight letters that Mary allegedly written to the Earl of Bothwell. James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton , claimed they were found in Edinburgh in a silver box with an engraved F (supposedly for Francis II ), along with other documents (including the marriage certificate of Mary and Hepburn). Maria refused to appear in court. She did not want to submit a written defense until Elisabeth guaranteed her acquittal; this proposal was rejected. Although the Casket Letters were found to be authentic after an examination of the handwriting and contents, the commission concluded that they could not prove the murder of Lord Darnley. This result was exactly what Elisabeth wanted.

The last pages of a handwritten letter from Maria Stuart dated November 23, 1586 to Pope Sixtus V, Città del Vaticano, Archivio Segreto Vaticano, Archivum Arcis, Arm. I-XVIII, 4082, fol. 3v – 4r

The authenticity of the Casket Letters is still controversial among historians today, as the originals were destroyed in 1584 and none of the existing copies form a complete set. Except for one case, the copies are also translations from the French original. Maria argued that it wasn't difficult to imitate her handwriting. In later centuries it was suggested that the letters were completely forgeries, that suspicious passages were inserted before the York Conference, or that the letters to Bothwell were written by someone else. Today it is impossible to clearly determine the authenticity or forgery of the letters. The significance of these letters for the question of Mary's complicity in the murder of her husband, Lord Darnley, has also been grossly overestimated.

Imprisonment and Execution

Maria Stuart on the way to the scaffold (painting by Scipione Vannutelli, 1861)
The execution of Maria Stuart, book illustration from 1613

This was followed by 18 years imprisonment, partly under pleasant conditions, in various English castles and palaces (e.g. Bolton Castle , Chatsworth House , Sheffield , Buxton , Tutbury Castle , Chartley and, most recently, Fotheringhay ). These sites were chosen because they were far enough away from both Scotland and London . Most of the time Mary was in the care of George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury and his wife Bess of Hardwick . Maria's third husband, the Earl of Bothwell , had been arrested in Norway and taken to Denmark , where he was incarcerated and went mad. He died in 1578.

1570 Elizabeth was by the representatives of Charles IX. Convinced by France again to bring Mary back to the Scottish throne. However, their precondition was the ratification of the Treaty of Edinburgh , which Mary still refused to sign. Nevertheless, William Cecil continued to negotiate with Maria on Elisabeth's instructions. Elisabeth always avoided a personal encounter with Maria, the latter always longed for. The Ridolfi conspiracy (a plan for the murder of Elisabeth and the installation of Maria Stuart as Queen of England by Spanish troops, in which Maria was clearly involved) made Elisabeth reconsider her approach. In 1572, at the behest of the Queen, Parliament passed a law that excluded Mary from the English throne. Unexpectedly, however, Elisabeth refused to approve the law because she had changed her mind again.

Mary's bedchamber at Bolton Castle , where she was imprisoned in 1568

Maria became an intolerable burden for Elisabeth, as she got involved in more and more conspiracies, which her intercepted letters prove. After the execution of the Babington conspirators (September 20-21, 1586), Mary Queen of Scots was brought to Fotheringhay at the end of September 1586. A commission of 40 (partly Catholic) nobles, which met from October 15 to 16, 1586, found Mary's guilt. On October 25, 1586, Mary Queen of Scots was found guilty of high treason because she was involved in the Babington Conspiracy - a planned attack on Elizabeth's life. At the parliamentary assembly on October 29, 1586, the upper and lower houses petitioned unanimously for the immediate execution . This petition was presented to Elizabeth I on November 12, 1586 in Richmond. On November 16, 1586, Mary Queen of Scots learned of the parliamentary decision and the impending execution.

However, it was not until February 1, 1587, that Elisabeth signed the execution certificate; she had previously tried to get prison guard Sir Amyas Paulet to murder Maria (the ruling class found it unbearable to try and execute an anointed queen - murder was preferred) in order to avoid execution. On February 7, 1587, Maria Stuart was informed of the death sentence and the date of execution. One day later (almost to the day 20 years after the murder of her second husband Lord Darnley), on Wednesday, February 8th, 1587 (according to today's Gregorian calendar February 18th), Mary Queen of Scots was born at 10 a.m. in the Great Hall of the Palace Fotheringhay executed.

Mary's personal book of hours (with handwritten notes), which she took with her on the scaffold, can be seen today in the Russian National Library in Saint Petersburg .

The course of the execution is recorded. She appeared at the execution site like a nun, in a black satin dress lined with black velvet . She wore two rosaries on her belt. A white veil covered her hair. When she took off the veil and the dark outerwear on the scaffold, you could see that underneath she was wearing a dark red velvet petticoat and a dark red satin bodice . The red color of her underwear was probably chosen deliberately. In the European culture, red symbolized martyrdom , courage and royal blood.

The executioner was inexperienced and nervous; It took him three blows with the ax to separate Maria's head from her body. The first blow hit the back of the head. Since Maria showed no reaction, the first blow likely resulted in loss of consciousness or death. The second blow hit the neck, but did not sever all of the muscles. Only the third blow separated the head from the torso. Legends say that after the execution, the executioner with the words " Long live the Queen " lifted Mary's head by the hair to present it to the crowd. But he grabbed a wig and her head, with short-cropped gray hair, fell down and rolled onto the scaffold . It is also much quoted that the queen's lap dog hid in her robes and was removed from the corpse after the execution, covered in blood.

Mary Queen of Scots was first buried in Peterborough Cathedral on July 31, 1587 . But the body was exhumed in September 1612 when her son, who ruled England as James I in personal union, ordered the burial in Westminster Abbey . There she rests, nine meters from the grave of her second aunt, Elisabeth I.


Jacob III
Margaret of Denmark
Henry VII
Elizabeth of York
René II, Duke of Lorraine
Philippa von Geldern
François de Bourbon
Marie of Luxembourg-Saint Paul
Jacob IV
Margaret Tudor
Claude I. de Lorraine
Antoinette de Bourbon
Jacob V.
Marie de Guise
Maria Stuart

Family relationships

Family tree of Mary Queen of Scots

Maria Stuart in literature, music and film

Maria Stuart's life and especially her conflict with Queen Elizabeth I of England has been a popular subject for artistic reception since her death . Early works about her were written in the first few years after the execution, mainly motivated by Catholic authors who glorified her as a martyr.

Maria Stuart in literature and theater

Flyer on Execution Oder Todt Marien Stuarts , Erfurt 1587 ( full text )

As early as 1587 a Jesuit wrote a poem in honor of Maria Stuart. Further poems and stories followed in the late 16th and 17th centuries. One of the most important works on Maria Stuart's life is Friedrich Schiller's tragedy Maria Stuart (1800). Margarete Kurlbaum-Siebert wrote a Maria Stuart novel, which was also translated into English . The most famous biography of Maria Stuart in the German-speaking world was written by Stefan Zweig in 1935. In his biography, Zweig evaluates contemporary English, Scottish and French sources. Zweig explains the great attention that Maria Stuart has generated in European literature with the variety of possible interpretations of the Queen's life: "The life tragedy of Maria Stuart can be seen as the downright classic crown example of such an inexhaustible secret stimulus of a historical problem." There is a more recent biography of the author Michel Duchein (2003). Anka Muhlstein and Sylvia Jurewitz-Freischmidt each published double biographies of the rivals Maria Stuart and Elisabeth I. A historical novel by Margaret George is also based on Maria Stuart's life. The historical novel The Foundation of Eternity by Ken Follett also deals extensively with the life of Maria Stuart.

There is also a play by Elfriede Jelinek called Ulrike Maria Stuart (2006) and a Broadway play by Maxwell Anderson about Maria Stuart . Robert Bolt wrote a play in 1971, at the premiere of which his wife Sarah Miles played Maria Stuart.

Mary Stuart in music

Gaetano Donizetti's opera Maria Stuarda (1835) was based very loosely on Friedrich Schiller's tragedy . On the opera stage Maria Stuart also appears in Maria Stuarda, regina di Scozia by Pietro Casella (1811), the opera of the same name by Carlo Coccia (1827) and in Mary Queen of Scots by Thea Musgrave (1977).

On March 26, 1840 Richard Wagner (1813-1883) composed the song Adieux de Marie Stuart in Paris based on a text by Pierre Jean de Béranger (1780-1857).

In 1852 Robert Schumann (1810–1856) composed five songs based on poems by Maria Stuart, op. 135 and gave them to his wife Clara for Christmas in the same year. The songs on translations by Gisbert Freiherr Vincke have the titles: Farewell to France , After the Birth of Her Son , To Queen Elisabeth , Farewell to the World and Prayer , whereby only the third and fourth are considered authentic.

In 1899, in the complete edition of all songs and ballads by Carl Loewe (1796–1869), which was provided by Max Runze, a song entitled Gesang der Queen Maria Stuart auf den Tod Franz II (in the style of old French folk songs) was published for the first time . In the foreword to the second volume of the complete edition, in which the song is located, it says: “The text of the song, composed in 1560, was handed down by the French historian Pierre de Brantôme (1540–1614) in his Dames illustres (Oeuvres 5, 88); then Le Roux de Lincy, Recueil de chants historiques francais 2, 225 (1842). “Loewe dedicated the song to his daughter Julie von Bothwell. The editor also notes: “Apparently Loewe relies on old French melodies and rhythms in this song. Probably composed at a later time. ”The edition of the song by Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig is bilingual - a German text comes from the pen of A. R.

On This Today (1975), monodrama for an actress and drums by Wilfried Hiller . Text by Elisabet Woska based on letters from Maria Stuart in the German translation by Hans-Henning von Voigt- Alastair . World premiere as a television opera on ZDF in 1974.

Maggie Reilly sang the song To France on Mike Oldfield's album Discovery from Maria's point of view. Other receptions in modern rock and pop music come from Lou Reed ( Sad Song 1973 with verses dedicated to Mary Stuart), Fairport Convention (Fotheringay 1969 about Mary Stuart's imprisonment) and Grave Digger (two songs about the time in prison and the last Days before the execution).

On April 4, 2008, the premiere of the musical Maria Stuart, Queen of Scots took place in the Waldau Theater in Bremen as a production by the Bremen Musical Company . The music is by Thomas Blaeschke , the libretto by Kerstin Tölle .

Maria Stuart in the film

Thomas Edison's early film version of the execution in 1895

The film adaptations of her life include:

Maria Stuart on TV

From October 2013 to June 2017, The CW ran the American series Reign , with Adelaide Kane in the lead role.

See also



  • Literary oriented
    • Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson : Maria Stuart in Scotland . 1864.
    • Walter Heichen: Maria Stuart . German book distribution and publishing company, Berlin-Düsseldorf 1951 (novel).
    • John E. Neale (Jonathan Cape Ltd./London): Elisabeth I. Hugendubel, Kreuzlingen / Munich 2004, ISBN 3-424-01226-2 .
    • Jenny Wormald: Maria Stuart . Ploetz, Freiburg and Würzburg, 1992, ISBN 3-87640-500-9 .

Web links

Commons : Maria Stuart  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Maria Stuart (1542–1587)  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Antonia Fraser: Mary Queen of Scots Panther Books, London 1970, p. 75.
  2. ^ Antonia Fraser: Mary Queen of Scots. Panther Books, London 1970, pp. 113-115
  3. Frederick Chamberlin: Elizabeth and Leycester Dodd, Mead & Co., New York 1939, pp. 136-164, 445-447
  4. "It was thought expedient and most profitable for the common wealth ... that such a young fool and proud tyrant should not reign or bear rule over them; ... that he should be put off by one way or another; and whoever should take the deed in hand or do it, they should defend " (Book of Articles) : Antonia Fraser: Mary Queen of Scots. Panther Books, London 1970, pp. 335f.
  5. ^ Claude Nau: History of Mary Stuart from the murder of Rizzio to her flight into England , edited by J. Stevenson 1883, p. 264
  6. ^ Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red - Empire, Espionage and the Qest for the Color of Desire. HarperCollins Publisher, New York 2004, ISBN 0-06-052275-5 , pp. 18-19
  7. ^ Stefan Zweig: Maria Stuart . Fischer, Frankfurt a. M. 1988, ISBN 3-596-21714-8 , pp. 71 .
  8. Wagner Chronicle. Data on life and work compiled by Martin Gregor-Dellin, dtv-Bärenreiter 1983; Richard Wagner: All songs with piano accompaniment , Schott Mainz
  9. ^ Robert Schumann: Songs for Voice and Piano , Volume III, edited by Alfred Dörffel. Edition Peters, Leipzig
  10. Hans-Joachim Zimmermann: The poems of Queen Maria Stuart. Gisbert Vincke, Robert Schumann and a sentimental tradition. In: Archive for the Study of Modern Languages ​​and Literatures , edited by Sühnel et al., Westermann-Verlag, 1977, pp. 308-319
predecessor Office successor
Jacob V. Queen of Scotland
Jacob VI
Caterina de 'Medici (Titular) Queen of France
Elisabeth of Austria