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Mary Queen of Scots

posted 25 Apr 2015, 13:14 by Fran Brady   [ updated 25 Apr 2015, 13:21 ]

She's an iconic figure not just here in Scotland but all over the world. 'En ma fin est mon commencement' (in my end is my beginning) is her most famous quote (she spent her teen years in France married to the Dauphin who died young)and never was a truer word spoken. Brutally executed (it took three 'chops' to behead her) by her cousin, Good Queen Bess, Gloriana of England, who feared that one of the many plots / alleged plots centred around putting Mary on the English throne (she had a perfectly legitimate claim) would actually succeed. But her death, its manner and its rationale, made her more famous than ever. The end of her life in 1587 was indeed the beginning of her career as enduring, indeed ever-growing, historical icon.

But, surprisingly, there has never been a statue of her, neither in Scotland nor anywhere else. Lots of pictures and paintings, lots of stories, both true and fictional, but no statue. Today that omission was rectified. A new statue was unveiled at her birthplace and favourite residence, Linlithgow Palace. Lady Antonia Fraser, whose 1969 definitive history is a classic, had been invited to do the honours but was unable to be there due to illness. So Linlithgow's current Gala Queen (she looked about eleven) twitched the green cloth and revealed Mary in all her glory. Raised on a plinth and tall herself (almost six feet ), she commands the Palace grounds, looking from her corner straight over to her much-loved Palace.

If you are anywhere near Linlithgow this summer (or any other summer), do go and see her. She has a fierce, proud, determined look on her uncompromisingly aristocratic face but I am sure she will give you a welcome. And a tour around the Palace is an hour well spent.