Mary, Queen of Scots continues to intrigue both historians and the general public-but the story of her mother, Marie de Guise, is much less well known. A political power in her own right, she was born into the powerful and ambitious Lorraine family, spending her formative years at the dazzling, licentious court of Francois I. Although briefly courted by Henry VIII, she instead married his nephew, James V of Scotland, in 1538.
James's premature death four years later left their six-day-old daughter, Mary, as queen, and presented Marie with the formidable challenge of winning the support of the Scottish people and protecting her daughter's threatened birthright. Content until now to remain in the background and play the part of the obedient wife, Marie spent the next eighteen years effectively governing Scotland-devoting her considerable intellect, courage, and energy to safeguarding her daughter's inheritance by using a deft mixture of cunning, charm, determination, and tolerance. This biography, from the author of Marie Antoinette: An Intimate History, tells the story and offers a fresh assessment of this most fascinating and underappreciated of sixteenth-century female rulers.
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