Mary of Guise

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Mary of Guise (gēz), 1515–60, queen consort of James V of Scotland and regent for her daughter, Mary Queen of Scots. The daughter of Claude de Lorraine, duc de Guise, she was also known as Mary of Lorraine. Before her marriage (1538) to James V she had been married (1534) to Louis d'Orléans, 2d duc de Longueville, who died in 1537. When James died (1542), shortly after his daughter's birth, James Hamilton, 2d earl of Arran, became regent. He negotiated (1543) the betrothal of the infant Queen Mary to Prince Edward (later Edward VI) of England, but the queen mother persuaded the Scottish Parliament to repudiate the agreement. After the outbreak of war with England, Mary of Guise arranged the betrothal of her daughter to the French dauphin, and the young queen was sent to France. By 1554, with French aid, Mary of Guise had replaced the ineffectual Arran as regent, and she made no secret of her desire to bring France and Scotland together. Meanwhile, Protestantism was spreading rapidly in Scotland, and Mary, though at first conciliatory toward the reformers, began a campaign of suppression. In 1559 the Protestants, exhorted by John Knox, rose against the regent and declared her deposed. Mary received French aid, but the Protestants, allied with the English, proved the stronger force. The civil war was concluded shortly after Mary's death by the Treaty of Edinburgh (1560), which ended the French domination of Scotland and opened the way for the establishment of the Protestant church.

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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