Mary, Queen of Scots, leaving France
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Mary, Queen of Scots, leaving France

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Having become Queen of Scotland in her infancy, Mary was sent to France at the age of six, where she was betrothed to the Dauphin, and was educated with the royal children. She was married in 1558, but her husband died two years later. Various proposals of marriage were made, but these were opposed by Catherine de Medici, her mother in law.

The panel shows the eighteen-year-old queen in 1560, embarked on the ship which was to carry her back to a Scotland which she can hardly have remembered. Ahead of her lies a tumultuous future, which ended in her imprisonment by her cousin, Elizabeth of England, and ultimately her execution at Fotheringhay Castle in 1587. But she gazes back to the France where she grew up, and of which she was the widowed queen.

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