10 Best Books About Mary Queen Of Scots Update 05/2022

Born at Linlithgow Palace on December 8, 1542, Mary Queen of Scots was named after her mother. Queen Mary was just six days old when her husband, James V, died. She spent her childhood in France, married three men, and had to give up the throne to her son, James VI.

Mary fled to England, where she was imprisoned for 19 years on the orders of Elizabeth I. She was then executed for treason, after being linked to a plot to kill England’s queen, which led to her death. However, Mary’s life is so much more than these facts. Many books about Mary Queen of Scots are out there. How can you choose which one to read? They were written by some of the best historians and scholars in the country, and they let you learn about the Stewart queen’s life and times, no matter how much you know.

Best for: an unflinching assessment of Mary’s reign

Mary Queen of Scots: A Study in Failure by Jenny Wormald

There is a new version of Jenny Wormald’s book about Mary Queen of Scots. This book was first published 30 years ago. Mary isn’t the romantic hero people think she is, but a woman who didn’t deal with the problems and challenges that came with being a renaissance monarch. Anna Groundwater wrote a foreword for the book. In this book, the author tries to separate Mary’s reign from the adultress/innocent martyr debate that can cloud our understanding of her and her life so often.

Best for: The book that inspired the movie Mary Queen of Scots

My Heart is my Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots by John Guy

Mary Queen of Scots was based on John Guy’s book My Heart is My Own, with the book’s author writing the script. In 2004, the book was written about the relationship between Mary and her cousin, Elizabeth I of England, two queens who lived on the same island but never met. In this book, one of the best historians of the Renaissance tries to change the way we think about Mary. It’s called “Dramatic Reinterpretation.” The Whitbread Biography Award and the Marsh Biography Award were given to My Heart is My Own, which tells the story of me.

Best for: an exploration of contemporary records

Mary Queen of Scots: An illustrated life by Susan Doran 

In this book, there are illustrations of Mary and the people who were close to her, as well as contemporary documents that help to tell the story of the queen’s life and reign. This makes it different from other books about Mary. Many of these records have been transcribed and explained, with the help of long captions that explain what they show.

Mary Queen of Scots by Retha Warnicke

When Retha Warnicke wrote this biography, she was an expert on Tudor queenship. She talks about what it was like to be a woman in the 16th century. The author talks about all of the things that Mary had to deal with and all of the things that were going against her, not to mention the rules that were put on her by being a woman.

One of Warnicke’s main points is that Mary was forced to marry the earl of Bothwell because, the author says, the queen could be accused of causing Bothwell to attack her.

Best for: a classic biography

Mary Queen of Scots by Antonia Fraser

In 1969, this mostly sympathetic biography of Mary was written and won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize at the same time. It tries to discredit the myths and legends about the queen’s life and look into the circumstances surrounding the death of Mary’s second husband, Lord Darnley.

Bittersweet within My Heart: The Love Poems of Mary, Queen of Scots  by Mary, Queen of Scots and Robin Bell

She wrote our first book. In her life, you can kind of figure out that she was a pretty fiery person.

An editor named Robin Bell put together this bilingual collection of poetry that was written by Queen Mary to all of her lovers and even to her cousin and rival, Queen Elizabeth I of England.

Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart by John Guy

Mary Queen of Scots is a subject that John Guy has written about a lot. I thought this biography was the best one to put on this list because this book doesn’t focus on her as a Queen Gone Wild.

Guy brings together all of the documents that have been found and found new sources for the first time. This dispels the popular image of Mary Queen of Scots as a romantic leading lady who used feminine wiles to get what she wanted. Guy also shows that she was just as smart and powerful as Elizabeth I. Through Guy’s groundbreaking research and easy-to-read prose, we come to see Mary as a skilled diplomat who cleverly maneuvered through a dizzying array of factions that wanted to control or dethrone her, and we come to see her as a woman who was able to do both.

The Wild Queen: The Days and Nights of Mary, Queen of Scots by Carolyn Meyer

Five years old when she was sent to France to be raised with her future husband. Mary, who was just 18, was stripped of her title as Queen of France when the frail young king died. She was left alone in the harsh world.

Mary wants to rule over what is rightfully hers, so she goes back to Scotland. When she thinks a husband will help her get the English throne, she marries again. But the love and security she wants don’t come. There’s instead a murder scandal that could make her lose the crown. The young, fiery queen is now in the middle of it. So when she tried to make a deal with her powerful “sister queen,” Elizabeth I of England, it could end up costing her her life. Carolyn Meyer wrote a young adult book called Reign that might be interesting to people who like that show.

Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens by Jane Dunn

The best-known relationship that Mary had was with her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I of England, who was her cousin, her rival for the British throne, and her killer. Jane Dunn paints portraits of a pair of people who were always competing against each other.

Protestant Elizabeth, the daughter of Anne Boleyn who was a slut and had to be proven to be legitimate through legal means, was as bright as her red hair. Mary, the Catholic heir to the throne who England’s enemies wanted to see on the throne, was beautiful, feminine, and very persuasive. She was also very charming. When England was in the 16th century, they should have been able to live together as queens and neighbors, but the country wasn’t going to let them. Were there times when things got heated in your family because of politics?

 The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory

Including Philippa Gregory’s book on Mary Queen of Scots would make this list of books about Mary Queen of Scots even better (who has got to be running out of queens at this point in her career). Mary is fleeing violent protests in Scotland, so she goes to Queen Elizabeth of England for help. She was promised that she would be safe, but soon after, Mary Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, and his wife Bess of Hardwick imprisoned her as a “guest” in their home. She was seen as a threat to the English crown.

After getting married, the newlywed couple welcomes the condemned queen into their home. They think that being her hosts and jailers will give them an advantage in a rough world like the Elizabethan court. This will bankrupt their estate and make them lose what little favor they’ve gotten from Queen Elizabeth. Their home will become the center of intrigue and rebellion against her. It turns out that Mary is not as hopeless as she looks. She manipulates the earl and spins her own web of treachery and deception as she sharpens her weapons to reclaim her Scottish throne and take over Queen Elizabeth’s of England, too.

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