On this day 1567:
Mary Queen of Scots while imprisoned at Lochleven Castle, Scotland, was forced to abdicate in favour of her one-year-old son, later crowned King James VI of Scotland
Mary was only 6 days old when she ascended the Scottish throne after her father, King James V died in 1542. Her mother then sent her to be raised in France. In 1558 she married the French dauphin, who became King Francis II of France in 1559.
Francis died in 1560 and Mary returned to Scotland to assume her designated role as the country’s monarch. In 1565, she married her English cousin Lord Darnley to strengthen her claim of succession to the English throne in the future.
In 1567, Darnley was mysteriously killed in an explosion at Kirk o’ Field, and Mary’s lover, James Hepburn the Earl of Bothwell, was the key suspect. Although Hepburn was acquitted of the charge, both went ahead to get married in the same year.
This marriage infuriated the nobles who imprisoned Hepburn and Mary in the tiny island of Loch Leven. And on July 24, 1567, she was forced to abdicate in favour of her son by Darnley, James. In 1568, she escaped and raised an army to reclaim her throne.
However, Mary and her army were defeated at the Battle of Langside by a confederacy of Scottish Protestants under James Stewart, the regent of her son. Mary fled to Cumberland to seek protection from Queen Elizabeth I.
The English Queen initially welcomed Mary but was soon forced to put her under house arrest after Mary was implicated in various plots to overthrow Elizabeth. In 1586, a major plot to murder Elizabeth was reported, and Mary was convicted for complicity and sentenced to death.
On February 8, 1587, Mary Queen of Scots was beheaded for treason. Her son, King James VI of Scotland, calmly accepted his mother’s execution, and upon Queen Elizabeth’s death in 1603 he became king of England, Scotland, and Ireland.