Mary of Guise

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Mary of Guise (1515–60), queen of James V of Scotland. The daughter of Claude, duke of Guise, and thus a member of one of France's most militantly catholic families, Mary married James in June 1538. By him she bore two sons, who both died in infancy, and a daughter, Mary, who was barely a week old when her father died on 14 December 1542. In the ensuing minority, the dowager queen staunchly upheld French catholic interests in Scotland. In 1548 her daughter was contracted to marry the Dauphin Francis and in 1554 Mary was formally appointed regent. While this marked a tightening of French control, Mary pursued a conciliatory religious policy to ensure the acquiescence of the protestant nobility in the French marriage. With this achieved in April 1558, the need for conciliation lessened and the onset of more repressive policies sparked an inconclusive protestant rebellion in May 1559, whose outcome was determined by external factors. Rocked by the Tumult of Amboise in March 1560, France was unable to counter England's intervention on the protestants' behalf. Her forces besieged at Leith, Mary fell ill and took refuge in Edinburgh castle, where she died on 11 June.

Roger A. Mason

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