Scotlands History

France

Mary was five years old when she was taken to France in August 1548. She sailed from Dumbarton with her own court consisting of two lords and her four Marys; Mary Beaton, Mary Seton, Mary Fleming and Mary Livingston - all from Scots noble families with strong connections to France.

The Scots and French had signed the Treaty of Haddington in July agreeing that Mary would marry the French dauphin Francis - the son and heir of King Henry II of France.

Mary grew up in France with her future husband Francis. Much of her early life was spent at Château de Chambord. She learned French, Latin, Greek, Spanish and Italian and enjoyed falconry, needlework, poetry, prose, horse riding and playing musical instruments. 

Mary was 15 years old when she married Francis at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on the 24 April 1558. Francis and Mary became King and Queen of France on 30 June 1559, when Henry II died.

On 5 December 1560, Mary’s happy life as Queen of France ended as her husband, King Francis II of France died. Francis’ brother took the French throne and the widowed Mary prepared to return to Scotland.

She was 17 years old.

  • Photo of a large white chateau beside an ornamental lake

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