Thursday, 8 December 2011

Happy Birthday Mary

Today is Mary’s birthday.

Happy Birthday, Mary - 469 year old today.

That said it is possible she may have been born not on the 8th. but on the 7th. of December (her close advisor and associate Leslie thought so) and it has been argued that perhaps the date of birth was the 7th. but the announcement held over until the 8th. to coincide with the Feast day of the Virgin Mary after whom she was named,

Mary though always however maintained her birthday to be the  8th.

She was of course born in a second floor chamber at Linlithgow Palace which still exists although now roofless. Her mother was Mary of Guise, the birth was probably premature and initially reports were of a weak and sickly child. .

Her father James V had suffered a humiliating defeat at the Battle of Solway Moss on the 24th. November. After the defeat James spent a few days with his heavily pregnant wife at Linlithgow but then, for whatever reason  moved on to his palace at Falkland.

There only five days later, no doubt disappointed at the news his wife had given birth to a daughter rather than he a son, he “turned his face to the wall and died” uttering  the words “Adieu farewell it cam wi a lass and it will gang wi’ a lass”. The reference is to the Stuart dynasty which had began with the marriage of Walter Stuart to Marjorie Bruce and which was in course to end with the death of Queen Anne in 1714. James must have seen the dynasty as doomed particularly following the death of two earlier sons James and Robert in infancy.

The birth is commemorated by the Society every year with a short  ceremony at  Mary’s tomb at Westminster Abbey (above) when flowers are laid. The ceremony was again held last Saturday.