14 Tragic Facts About Mary, Queen of Scots, The Most Unlucky Queen In History

Mary, Queen of Scots (AKA Mary Stuart) is one of history’s most disastrous queens. From the time she became an infant monarch to her tragic demise, Mary attracted attention. And she still does. For centuries, novels, television shows (see the CW's Reign for an example), and even songs have reviled and romanticized her. So behind all the legends and mythology surrounding her, what are the important facts about Mary Stuart?

Born in 1542 and killed in 1587, Mary’s four-and-a-half decades on Earth were as dramatic as they were tumultuous. She was a Scottish queen reared in France, a Catholic ruler to an increasingly Protestant kingdom, and a terrible judge of men – it seemed the deck was stacked against Mary at every turn.

But if she had problems holding onto her throne, her cousin Elizabeth Tudor didn't make things any easier. Mary, Queen of Scots’s family tree revealed that she was a direct descendant of Henry VII and thus a claimant to Elizabeth I’s English throne. That fact loomed over their relationship: Mary Stuart and Queen Elizabeth were the original cousin frenemies. Their rivalry would end in death for the ill-fated Scottish queen.

The biography of Mary, Queen of Scots is heartbreaking. She was a queen who only actually ruled Scotland for just shy of six years. But in those six years, enough drama and trauma ensued to ensure that she would go down in history as one of the most storied queens of all time.