On this day in 1568, Mary Queen of Scots failed in her final attempt to keep her position on the throne, as she was defeated by her half-brother, James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray, at the Battle of Langside.
In 1567, her short-lived reign as Queen of Scotland had ended in disaster when she was forced to abdicate in favour of her infant son, James VI. Support for Mary had deteriorated rapidly after her marriage to Lord Bothwell, the man accused of murdering her husband, Henry Stewart (Lord Darnley). Originally, Mary believed that many nobles supported her marriage, but both Protestants and Catholics were shocked at her decision to marry the man publicly condemned for her husband’s murder, raising suspicions about her involvement in the crime. As a result, 26 Confederate Lords turned against her and raised an army against Mary and Bothwell. The Queen was imprisoned and forced to abdicate her throne, while Bothwell was sent to Denmark, where he later went insane and died.
In her quest to restore herself to the throne, Mary attempted to avoid conflict, instead retiring to Dumbarton Castle, where she could recover her hold over the country. However, the Earl of Moray was already drawing up an army against her and she was forced into battle. Her forces met with Moray’s army at the village of Langside, which is today part of Glasgow. Mary’s army was commanded by Archibald Campbell, 5th Earl of Argyll, who possessed very little military skill, and the battle lasted just 45 minutes before Mary’s forces – despite being greater in size – crumbled and were defeated. Subsequently, Mary went into exile, and the battle has been regarded as the start of the Marian Civil War.
To find out more about the life of Mary Queen of Scots, have a look at our youtube channel where we have a video on the woman herself.