Scotland's first statue of Mary, Queen of Scots, looks out across her birthplace, Linlithgow Palace
The first public statue of Mary Queen of Scots to be erected in Scotland has been unveiled at Linlithgow Palace.
© Historic Scotland
The seven-foot bronze monument was unveiled at the weekend on the Linlithgow Peel, looking out over the palace where she was born in December 1542, just six days before the death of her father, King James V of Scotland.
Mary Stuart's life and tumultuous, fitful reign as Scotland's queen during the complicated Elizabethan period reads like a classic Tudor tale of intrigue, murder and conspiracy. She remains one of Scotland's most famous and fascinating historical figures.
After becoming Queen of Scotland at just six days old, the Catholic Mary spent most of her early life in France until the death of her husband, King Francis II, brought her back to her homeland. But an ill-advised and unhappy marriage to Lord Darnley ended in his violent murder.
Mary's subsequent betrothal to the man accused of orchestrating Darnley's demise, James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, led to a rebellion and Mary's abdication in favour of her one-year-old son by Darnley, James.
There followed an 18-year period in England under the 'protection' of Elizabeth I. But her Catholic background and a claim to the English throne meant she became implicated in plots against the English Queen. Her exile - most of which was spent under effective house arrest - eventually led to the scaffold, where she died in 1587.
The new statue commemorating the life of this complicated figure was commissioned, after several years of fundraising, by the Marie Stuart Society, which promotes further study of her life.
Following an unveiling by Marie Stuart Society President, Margaret Lumsdaine, it was formally gifted to Scottish Ministers and the care of Historic Scotland.
Dr David Mitchell, the Director of Conservation at Historic Scotland, described the unveiling as the "fruition of many years of hard work" by the society and Historic Scotland staff.
"This project will add not only to the interpretation of the Palace but in itself has perpetuated a range of traditional skills and the use of traditional materials,"he added.
The traditional seven-foot statue was created by sculptor David Annand on a plinth carved by apprentice stonemasons from Historic Scotland. Its lettering was gilded by an apprentice painter.
The Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Fiona Hyslop, spoke of her "honour" at witnessing "history in the making".
“It’s a testament to the regard that Mary is held in across the world, and to the hard work of the Marie Stuart Society, that the exercise to raise funds for the statue attracted so many donations from Scotland and across the globe," she added.
The statue is now one of only 22 in the country depicting female figures. Thirteen of them portray Queen Victoria.
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