I went with a friend and her 4 young children to Stirling Castle this past week. This castle was huge compared to some of the others we have gone to. The castle had so much history. We have noticed that Mary, Queen of Scots is a huge figure as well as a controversial figure in the history of Scotland. She became the Queen when she was only 6 days old when her father died. She had 2 older brothers but they had both died before she was born. The guide told us that she was officially made queen there at the castle when she was 9 months old. Mary was a die hard Catholic and this caused lots of issues for her back at this time in the 1500’s.
She ended up leaving Scotland for England to try to protect herself. Her cousin was the queen of England, Queen Elizabeth 1, and Mary thought there would be some comraderie between them as family members and both being royalty. However, Queen Elizabeth did not trust her and imprisoned her in castles in England. There were plots to kill Elizabeth by the Catholics but they could never prove that Mary was part of it and so Elizabeth was hesitant to act against her cousin. But, Elizabeth’s spy master eventually found out that Mary had been corresponding with a man that was trying to kill Elizabeth. The spy master convinced Elizabeth that she would never be safe as long as her cousin was alive. Queen Elizabeth 1 had Queen Mary executed at the age of 44.
Mary’s father, James V, was politically astute. He also wanted to show his wealth. He had 250 different sized and shapes of statues on the front of the castle. They have been worn down by time and weather, but they showed a short film on what it probably looked like. He liked bright colors which back then would have cost a lot of money to have so much of the castle painted inside and outside.
They also had a tapestry room where there were 3 ladies working who were professionals. They were working on the final tapestry of the 6-7 they had done to put in the castle. They had researched and found what they think would have been in the castle. This art is dying but there is a school in England that still teaches it. The workers can do on average about 1 square inch a day! The colors were beautiful and the results amazing. We ended up going back to the queen’s rooms to look at the tapestries they had finished and hung up.