The exhibition is laid out in a chronological order in nine sections, from her birth till her death. It details her dramatic life in-between, including her marriage to the Dauphin of France and her position as Queen Consort of France, which ended a year later on the death of her husband King Francis II. It also details her return to Scotland, her marriage to Lord Darnley. He was later murdered, and it is not known if Mary had a hand in that! Finally it details her escape to England and subsequent imprisonment.
All the way through the exhibition you get tantalising glimpses into her life, from personnel effects of the Queen and her Court, to correspondence written in her hand and affixed with her seal. The exhibition offers an insight into the 16th Century world she lived in too. For me however there was one item on display that captivated me the most, and that was the original death warrant for Mary signed by Elizabeth. It was quite surreal to be standing before this document and one can almost feel the power coming from it, the signature of one Queen ending the life of another. What is quite interesting about the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth is that Elizabeth ordered her execution to prevent her laying claim to the crown of England , but upon the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603 the crown of England passed to Mary’s son James VI of Scotland, who became James I of England. And as a result every British Monarch since the has been a direct descendant of Mary Queen of Scots.
There are many more fantastic pieces in this exhibition however, so many I couldn’t possibly cover them all here, and do them justice. There is so much more to learn about this tragic Queen that I can’t cover so I recommend, if you are in Edinburgh to go to the museum and soak it all up.
Admission is £9 or £6 for a child, under 12 goes free. You can book your tickets online at http://www.nms.ac.uk/mary.