Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date

Spring 2011

Publication Title

Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching






Whether or not Mary, Queen of Scots, had the political acumen and intellectual drive of her cousin, Elizabeth I, the events of her life and central role in European politics make her one of the most fascinating characters of the period. While she did not rule as either the Queen of France or of Scotland for a significant period of time, less than a decade, every stage of her life was marked by intrigue and turmoil. Students will enjoy puzzling over Mary’s involvement in the murder of her second husband and her various escape plots, especially those that involved deposing Queen Elizabeth. The degree of Mary’s devotion to the Catholic religion is also somewhat puzzling. Although she remained a Catholic through-out her life, the degree of piety she exhibited at the end of her life was somewhat out of character. Identifying what factors actually contributed to Mary’s failure as a queen and ruler will also engage readers. Even if Mary’s own character played a role in her downfall, many other factors, including the conflict between Catholics and Protestants and the power struggle among European leaders, hindered her ability to rule.


Deposited with permission from copyright holder.