Thursday, November 19, 2015

Marie Stuart in France: Women who shaped the early life of the Queen of Scots

by Linda Root

In spite of the volumes written about  Marie Stuart, Queen of Scots, even the most accomplished historians leave perplexing questions about the queen’s personal relationships with the women who shared her youth.  Ironically, the end of her life at age forty-four mirrored its beginning.  She spent her first five years of childhood being moved from one sanctuary to another, just ahead of Edward Seymour’s army in the operation known in history as The Rough Wooing, when Henry VIII sought to kidnap her to enforce a marriage contract with his son.  During the last two decades of her life,  she was forced from one rural estate to another at the will of the English Queen.  In neither case was she empowered to select her surroundings or her friends. The Inchmahome Priory of her early childhood was not that different from Fotheringhay where she died.  Marie Stuart's personal freedoms were determined by the English.


During her early childhood, Marie Stuart’s playmates and companions were four little girls selected by the little queen’s mother, the Scottish Dowager,  Marie de Guise. 
They were daughters of the Dowager’s ladies in waiting, most of whom were French. Many notable historians assert all of the Four Maries other than Flemyng had French mothers, but that is inaccurate.  Livingston’s mother was Lady Agnes Douglas. The other exception in the predominantly French household of Marie de Guise was Princess Janet Stewart, Lady Flemyng, an illegitimate sibling of Marie’s father James V, who died when the queen was six days old. 
At the time of their selection, they became part of the queen’s movable household.  They and their families joined the nomadic existence of the queen while her mother negotiated her daughter's exodus to France. 

The queen's final Scottish refuge during the Rough Wooing was Dumbarton Castle,  on a rocky crag where the Firth of Clyde empties into the Irish Sea. From there, she sailed from Scotland on a French flagship in the midst of violent storms. The queen's fraternal aunt Lady Flemyng served as her governess. Lords Seton and Livingston accompanied the queen to France as her co-guardians.  

The Four Maries were seasick during most of the voyage.  They were Marie Flemyng (Flamie), Marie Livingston (Lusty),  and the two staunch Catholics with French mothers,  Marie Seton (Seton) and Marie Beaton (Beton). All were between ages five and six,  and all four were named Marie. Although numerous sources assert Livingston’s given name was Mary, surviving documents show she signed her names on court documents and is referred to in the queen’s will as Marie.  The will, of course, was signed by the testatrix as 'Marie R'. During her lifetime, there was no such person as Mary Queen of Scots.  According to modern Marian historian Jane Lewis, the English insistence on calling the Scottish Queen  'Mary'  is a manifestation of the national tendency to lay claim to a queen who brought the Stuart dynasty to England. It is from Marie Stuart that all English monarchs descend through the female line of Princess Elizabeth Stuart, Marie Stuart's granddaughter, the Winter Queen. 
Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia - The Winter Queen

How much information we are given about the four little girls who were Marie Stuart's conscripted playmates depends on who is writing the history.  As long ago as when I was in college, and first became interested in the Queen of Scots, I realized insofar as primary sources are concerned, there are two separate queens with very different stories, depending upon the religion of the author.  As to the Four Maries, numerous historians regard Marie Flemyng as the chief among them and the only one with the courage to call the queen to account when she was over-bearing.  Those who write of her after she married the statesman Maitland of Lethington color her as a devil or an angel, depending on their view of Maitland's politics. Marie Livingston was the first to marry. Writers with a Catholic bias would canonize Marie Seton if they could. And even though she was the niece of a murdered Catholic Cardinal, Marie Beaton was not as morally upright as her best friend Seton. She later earned the queen's disfavor by establishing an unspecified relationship with the English ambassador. 

In any case, once they arrived in France in 1548, the Four Maries were culled from the queen’s entourage and sent to Poissy while Marie Stuart was ensconced in the Royal Nursery at Saint Germain en Laye, separating her from the Scottish influence of her Four Maries.  The excuse given was to force the Queen to speak nothing but French, which makes no sense since her governess Lady Flemyng’s French was marginal. 

Nevertheless, King Henri Valois sent glowing praises to the Scottish Dowager about the governess, no doubt referring to talents other than linguistic.  Within three years, she was sent home in disfavor, having given birth to a bastard son of the King of France, conceived while the Royal Mistress Diane de Poitiers was home at her estate nursing a broken ankle.  It was one occasion when Queen Consort Catherine d’Medici and Royal Mistress, Diane d’ Poitiers joined forces and brought the governess’s pregnancy to the attention of Marie de Guise, who was more outraged than either of them.
 Lady Flemyng’s conduct was a smudge on her daughter’s reputation. The king did not get to vote when his wife and his mistress sent Lady Flemyng packing for her home in Biggar. Her best friend the Dowager did not speak to Lady Flemyng until the Dowager was on her deathbed, but it was Janet who was the chief mourner at her funeral and who accompanied her casket to Rheims for interment.

Even before Lady Flemyng was sent home in disgrace,  her Scottish influence over her royal ward had been challenged by the Dowager Duchess of Guise, Antoinette de Bourbon, who had wanted a French governess at the outset and had been overruled by her daughter, Marie de Guise. Antoinette instigated the dismissal of the Four Maries from the Queen’s household and supported the king and queen when they sent most of the Scottish suite home.  The only Scots Lady Flemying had been able to retain were a cook and a physician.

During the years of the queen’s separation from her Four Maries, she formed four notable relationships with females. The first was with her nursery playmate and new best friend, Princess Elisabeth. Marie often chose the astute royal mistress Diane de Potier for a mentor, favoring her over her future mother-in-law Queen Catherine d'Medici.  Her relationship with the Queen Consort was not always warm and friendly.  The formidable Duchess of Aumale, soon to become Duchess of Guise, Anne d’ Este, was the fourth.  Marie Stuart was being groomed to become the Queen of France. Her success in the role required her to behave like a French princess, not a Scottish queen.  

Although historians often cast the dismissal of her playmates in a harsh light, Poissy was only a few miles from Saint Germain.  The Four Maries often visited the palace on weekends and holidays. They had not been exiled to an austere convent in a backwater location. The convent school at Saint Louis Priory provided a high-quality liberal education to its aristocratic students. Even religious policies were flexible to a degree. Marie Livingston, whose family embraced the new learning, was encouraged but not forced to attend Mass. By the time the Four Maries reached puberty, they were well educated and highly polished French girls, ready to be integrated into the life at the French court.  Nevertheless, their place in the life of the Queen had been taken by the Princesses Elisabeth and Claud, and their brother Francois, the Dauphin. 
By the time she was eleven, the Queen of Scots might well have been homesick for her mother, but there is no reason to think she missed or even remembered the land of which she was sovereign.  

Of the four female relationships formed during her early years in France, three were among those with whom she corresponded in the months before her execution.  Diane de Poitiers was dead, but her elegance and style left a lasting impression on the queen, who like Diane, knew her stage craft.  She did not wear a crimson petticoat to her execution by accident.  She knew it was the color of martyrdom. 


Elisabeth Valois, school of Clouet

The Princess Elisabeth Valois:  One might develop a distorted impression of the relationship between the Queen of Scots and Henri and Catherine’s oldest daughter Elisabeth if they merely surveyed the queen’s correspondence without knowing the background in which they were written.  A portfolio of letters written by the Queen to her new best friend survives.  They were not components of a private communication between close friends, but letters produced in the classroom as a part of the curriculum.   They were designed as exercises in penmanship and self-expression, and would have been read by a language tutor and possibly by Queen Catherine or Diane de Poitiers, but they were not meant to be sent to the recipient.   While Elisabeth was a frequent addressee of the queen’s letters, she was not the only one. Sometimes Marie wrote to her little friend and future fiancé, the Dauphin Francois, who was also a student in the royal nursery, and adored Marie. 

The tone of the queen’s letters to Elisabeth is often pedantic, not unusual in an exchange between a girl of eleven to a friend almost two and a half years her junior.  The queen lectures Elisabeth as if she were a younger sister, and in many respects, she was. There was a difference in status of the girls.  Marie was an anointed queen, and thus took precedence in the protocols.  Marie also treated Francois very much as if he were a sickly younger brother. Throughout her life, she was drawn to nurse the needy. However, it is an error to paint her as always compassionate and kind to those who stood between her and her goals.

From a letter written circa 1553, when Marie Stuart was eleven:
"It is not enough, my beloved sister, that at the commencement of your studies you should invoke the help of God. For He wishes, besides, that you should work with all the force you possess. For, my dearest friend and sister, the ancients have said that the Gods do not give their blessings to idle folk, but sell them for labor. Farewell, and love me as I love you."

In another letter, eleven-year-old Marie Stuart writes to her younger friend Elisabeth as follows:
"I read, yesterday, one of (Aesop’s)Fables which is as profitable as it is agreeable. During the winter the ant was engaged in making a good meal of the grain which he had collected in the summer, when the grasshopper came to him, very hungry, and begged for something to eat. But the ant said, " What were you doing in the summer?" " Singing," was the answer. " If you sang in the summer, you may dance now in the winter," answered the ant. The fable signifies, dearest sister, that while we are young we should take pains to study learning and virtue, to guide us in later years."

The friendship between the two royal girls did not fade with the years, although they were separated in their teens when Elisabeth was sent to Spain to become the third queen of King Phillip after Mary Tudor died.  In a letter written to Elisabeth in later years, from one of her English prisons, the Queen of Scots writes:
"I do not know how to describe to you the pleasure which your kind and comforting letters have given me at a time so unfortunate for me; they seem sent from God for my consolation in the midst of all the troubles and adversities that surround me! I see well how much I am bound to bless God for our having been (fortunately for me) brought up together in friendship."

Some histories of the queen infer she received her education at the convent school at the Abbey of Saint Pierre les Dames du Rheims where her Aunt Renee de Guise was abbess. It is true that the queen visited her mother’s oldest sibling at the convent and spent some time there in the company of her aunt Renee, but she did not reside there for any protracted length of time. Her principal education was received at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, and when she grew older, she moved with the court.  Her mother’s family,  however, participated in her care and education and as she approached the age of majority, assumed a principal role. . The family matriarch Antoinette d’Bourbon, the Dowager Duchess of Guise, was not shy in providing input. The image one receives of the young Marie Stuart was that of a serious student who aimed to please and who worked hard at her lessons and was obedient.

 Because Marie was already a sovereign, she sometimes found herself the object of power struggles in the nursery and at court.  She also was a pawn in the rising fortunes of the House of Guise. There is no question that the Dukes of Guise and their ecclesiastical siblings were intimidating.  Francois, Second Duke of Guise, and his brother Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine rivaled the king in both wealth and power. A major rift erupted when the Dauphin was given his establishment and withdrawn from the nursery.  At Antoinette Bourbon’s instigation, her sons Francois and Charles demanded the same treatment for their niece Queen Marie, who was a year older.  The problem was getting someone other than themselves to pay for it, preferably the Scottish parliament.  Financial accommodations were reached between Henri II and the Scots, and Marie Stuart moved into her own suite at Saint Germain,  One of her first acts was to free her Four Maries from their exile and restore them to her household. Another was to entertain her Uncle Charles at a lavish dinner.  By then, the adolescent queen had learned to assert herself.  She embarked upon a struggle with her formidable grandmother Antoinette to rid herself of the governess the Dowager Duchess of Guise had selected to replace Janet Stewart, Lady Flemyng.   Marie took her complaints directly to her mother in Scotland, and the governess was sacked, but not without first spreading tales inferring Marie Stuart was a spoiled, manipulative brat.  During the dispute over the governess, Marie maintained the woman’s abuses had caused her to take to her bed with severe pains in her side.  Whether real or feigned, the pains were a recurring device displayed by the queen throughout her life when she did not get her way. And of course, the governess was sent back from whence she came, a bitter woman who did not live long.


There is much truth to the governess’s accusation.  Marie was indeed manipulative, and her first great success was with her prospective father-in-law, the king.  When adolescent Marie and Queen Catherine disagreed,  Marie sometimes took her complaints directly to the king, who was enchanted by his little ward and often arbitrated in her favor.  There is no definitive point where relationships between Queen consort Catherine and the Queen of Scots are noted in the histories.  At the time of Marie’s arrival in France, Catherine d’Medici was herself an outsider, the Italienne.  The female personage of power and influence at the Valois Court was not the queen but the royal mistress, Diane dePoitiers.  It was she who convinced Henri to begin occasionally sleeping with his wife, in order to secure the dynasty.  Diane was the one who set the tone at court.  When in 1551 the Dowager of Scotland Marie de Guise came home to France for a visit, it was Diane she consulted on matters of protocol and wardrobe. But the Duchess of Valentinois was more than a fashion plate. She was one of the king’s principal advisers on such heady matters as international diplomacy and military affairs.

The Queen of Scots was friendly with the Duchess and considered her a mentor and friend.  At one point, some of Marie Stuart’s distractors suggested a painting by an unknown artist of two topless women in the bath produced late in the 16th century was of Diane and the Queen of Scots, although it is far more likely of the French King Henry IV’s beloved mistress Madame d’Estrees and her sister. While Diane had frequently posed nude, there is no evidence the Queen of Scots did.  Also, Diane was forty-three years older than Marie, obviously not the case of the women in the painting.

 It is worthy of note that Catherine d’Medici had only been Queen of France a year when anointed Queen Marie Stuart arrived in France.  From the time of Catherine’s  marriage to Henri in 1533,  she had remained in the background. The marriage contract was negotiated while her uncle Clement VII was the pope, but he died shortly after the marriage.  The contract had been negotiated by Henri’s father Francois I, anticipating the political benefits he would reap by being an in-law of the Pope.  The marriage occurred at a time when Francois was competing with Charles V for the favor of the  Roman Church. For that reason, the bride’s dowry was hardly a factor in the negotiations.  With Clement’s death, Catherine was relegated to the background. She spent her energies staying in the good graces of the king’s mistress the Duchess of d’Etampes and her husband’s beloved Diane de Poitiers. At the time Henri succeeded his father, Catherine was far from an important force in French court politics, and the Queen of Scots apparently sensed her lack of popularity at the court.  There is no evidence of precisely when the queens displayed a mutual dislike of one another, but at some point while Marie was growing up, she referred to Queen Catherine as ‘the Florentine shopkeeper’s daughter.’ Her use of the demeaning label made its way to  Catherine, who did not forget the slight. 


Diane dePoitiers, the Duchess of Valentinois, was not the trollop the Scottish Protestant Kirk made her out to be.  She had been a loyal and loving wife to her much older first husband, Louis de Breze, Seigneur d’Anet.  According to romantic legend, Henri II had been infatuated with Diane since he was a boy on his way to captivity in Spain,  and while that may be true,  whatever the adolescent Henri’s feelings for her might have been, she was an exemplary wife to Louis while he lived.  While the court of Henri’s father Francois I was licentious, Henri Valois was of a different ilk.  He and Diane were deeply devoted to one another, and the tone of their court was conservative. When sensuous dances such as the Volta became popular at court, they were favored by Queen Catherine, not the Duchess.  In some respects, she was more prudish than Catherine.

 Diane was 19 years the king’s senior, and her judgment was astute.  If she was unpopular with the Guises and its rivals in  the Montmorency faction, it was for her competence in maintaining the balance of power between them, not her status as a mistress.  She, not Catherine, held the ear as well as the heart of the king.  But, Catherine was an intelligent young woman whose life experiences had taught her to be cautious.  She knew better than to be confrontational in her dealings with Diane.  She was also circumspect about her relationship with her designated future daughter-in-law.  The Italian shopkeeper’s daughter was wise enough to avoid battles she could not win. Once she began giving birth to Henri’s children, she was content to bide her time.


When the Queen of Scots arrived in France, her grandfather Claud was Duke of Guise, the second son of the Duke of Lorraine, which had been an independent Duchy.   The House of Guise had brought Lorraine into the kingdom, and its scions were considered princes of France, claiming precedence over the Bourbon princes of the blood.   Until 1528, only princes of the ruling house were awarded the title of Duke. Thus, when Duke Claud’s daughter, the Scottish Dowager, began negotiations aimed at sending her daughter to France to escape a forced betrothal to Henry VIII’s son Prince Edward, there were political benefits in welcoming the Queen of Scots to France.  Although Henri Valois disagreed with his father’s position on many issues, bringing Marie Stuart to France under contract to become betrothed to his four-year-old son Francois was not among them.  The French crown was locked in armed conflicts with the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, and the House of Guise contributed both its military might and incredible wealth to efforts to hold Charles at bay.  Marie had been in France for two years when Claud died at the Guise estate in Joinville where she had visited, but by the time of her arrival, the Duke had passed the leadership of the Guise faction to his sons Francois and Charles. 

Anne d'Este
Clouet F de Lorraine.jpg
Francois de Guise
In 1550, both the Duke and his brother John, Cardinal of Lorraine, died, leaving the new Duke of Guise Francois the most important of France’s generals, and his brother Charles, the most important European ecclesiastic behind the Pope, and the richest man in France.  Their mother, the redoubtable Antoinette deBourbon, Dowager Duchess of Guise, retained her position as the family matriarch,  but the new Duchess of Guise, Anne d’Este, was formidable in her own right, and a person of influence in the wife of her niece, the Queen of Scots.   Like Elisabeth Valois, Anne d’Este remained close to the Queen of Scots long after she returned to Scotland.

Of the women who influenced Marie Stuart’s early life, I find Anne d’Este the most enigmatic.  My debut novel sees her through the eyes of Janet Stewart, Lady Flemying’s daughter whom the French called La Flamina because her surname hinted at a Flemish heritage.   My protagonist did not like Anne and viewed her as a puppet of Antionette d’ Bourbon, a rather stiff-necked moralist who wore a hair shirt and a celice under plain, coarse clothes.  However, as she matured, Anne became a leader of the militant Catholic faction in the French Wars of Religion and the epitome of a woman who stepped far outside of the role of the typical aristocratic noblewoman of her day.  It is difficult to extract from the several versions of Anne e’Este to isolate the one who influenced the Queen of Scots during her years in France. 

The woman who succeeded Antoinette de Bourbon as Duchess of Guise was the daughter of the Duke of Ferrera, Ercole II, which gave her shared heritage with Queen Catherine d’ Medici. However, Anne was also the granddaughter of a King of France, and the niece of Francois I’s revered first wife Claud.  Her mother was Renee of France, one of the two daughters of the Valois king Louis XII, his only children to survive infancy.  The crown then passed to his relative Francois I, Henri II’s father. Thus, Anne e’Este and the French king were related.  She traveled from her father’s duchy to Saint Germain en Laye where she was married and never again set foot in Italy.  Her marriage to the son of the high-flying Duke of Guise was a political match of high value to both.  Whether out of genuine affection or a shared political ambition, the marriage was a strong one.  From the time of her marriage to Francois, who at the time was Duke of Aumale, Anne d’Este became an enthusiastic member of the House of Guise.  In 1550 when the old Duke died, she became Duchess of Guise, and with the aid of her mother-in-law Antoinette managed the vast wealth of the Guise while her husband became one of France’s most accomplished warrior princes.  She apparently shared her mother-in-law’s enthusiasm for removing the pre-pubescent Queen of Scots from the control of  Catherine and Diane.  She developed a friendly correspondence with her husband’s sister Marie de Guise, informing her that at the age of nine, the little queen was too advanced to be treated as a child.  She and her brother-in-law Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine, were instrumental in convincing Mare de Guise to pursue the funding necessary to establish a separate household for the Queen of Scots.  

According to a very recent scholarly analysis by Aysha Pollnitz, Princely Education in Early Modern Britain, Cambridge Press, 2015, it was after the queen’s eleventh birthday when her sovereignty was established that her classical education actually began.  The strict regimen imposed by the hand-picked governess Madame Parois, as unpopular as it was with Marie, introduced the queen to a level of study of more substance and less glitter.  According to author Pollnitz, her education to that point, while impressive, was superficial, aimed more at showmanship than deep understanding. Contrary to the reports of other historians who compare her facility with Latin to Edward VI, Polnitz maintains the queen’s  performances were orchestrated by her tutors and were well rehearsed.  Her celebrated dissertation at the Louvre in 1554-or 1555 so gloriously applauded by the French scholar Brantome was more a recitation than an expository declamation. Nevertheless, Mary Stuart was educated well above the standard of most female royals of her day, no doubt with the encouragement of her aunt Anne, who had received an exemplary liberal education while growing up in Ferrera.

The success of her Guise relatives in giving the Queen of Scots her household paved the way for acknowledgment of her majority, a move that allowed her to appoint her own Regent.  Guided by her Guise relatives, Marie ousted the Regent James Hamilton, erstwhile Earl of Arran and Duke of Chatelherault, and replaced him with her mother.  It was a move popular in France, but not in Scotland, where the move was perceived as an assault against the Scottish Reformation and a reaffirmation of the Auld Alliance between Scotland and France.  It was a victory for the Guises and the Royal House of Valois, but one for which Marie de Guise ultimately paid dearly. 
Notre Dame du Paris

After Marie  Stuart’s marriage to Francois II in April 1558 when she became the Dauphiness, it seemed apparent she would someday become Queen of France.  Her training shifted to what was appropriate for a queen consort. For elegance and taste, she would have looked to Anne e’Este as well as Diane de Poitiers. She had already estranged herself from Catherine by insisting on wearing white at her wedding, which Catherine considered the color of mourning.  The austerity of the Dowager Antoinette de Bourbon was ill-suited to a nominated Queen of France. Thus,  Anne Este emerged as an ideal mentor.

For all of her love of elegance, Anne d’Este was an exemplary wife to Francois.  She never appeared in public without the Duke, or if he was on a military campaign, without his brother the Cardinal as her escort.  While the Queen of Scot’s enemies in Scotland later tried to cast the Duchess as a loose woman who had engaged in an affair with her second husband, the Duke of Nemours while Francois still lived, there is no credible evidence that Anne was anything but a loyal and loving wife, one of the several victims of the poison pens of Marie Stuart’s enemies Buchanan and Randolph, and the polemics of John Knox. When Francois d’ Guise was assassinated in 1563, Anne d’Este is said to have supervised the execution of the man who shot him, standing watch while his extremities were tied to bent saplings,  which when released tore him limb from limb.  Some stories have her cutting the rope herself.

Throughout her life, the Queen of Scots and her Guise family remained close, at times to Marie Stuart’s detriment.  During her years of detention in England, she looked to Anne’s sons to launch a rescue, and she stayed close to her aunt.  Among their preserved  correspondence,  at the eve of Marie Stuart’s period of personal rule, letters were exchanged regarding Anne’s remarriage to the handsome and younger Jacques de Savoy, Duke of Nemours,  at a time when the Queen was imprisoned at Loch Leven.  The Queen of Scots sent Anne d’Este wishes for the happiness Marie would never realize. It was Anne’s second successful marriage. She presented Nemours with three more children to match the seven survivors of her union with Francois de Guise.  She also supervised diplomatic exchanges between Nemours, France and the independent  Duchy of Savoy.

Henri IV as Mars (PD Art)
Anne d’Este remained a political force to be reckoned with after her second husband died. The last of Catherine d’Medici’s sons to rule France, Henri III, had her two older Guise sons murdered, and Anne arrested, although she was soon released. While there is a lack of conclusive evidence, Anne is a prime suspect in Henri III’s assassination the following year. After personally supervising the resistance in Paris to the armies of the Huguenot heir to the throne, Henri of Navarre during the Wars of Religion, when Henri IV submitted to a mass and recanted his Protestant faith, Anne persuaded her sons to  acknowledge him as King of France.  When he divorced his flamboyant wife Marguerite of Valois (Queen Margot), the Dowager Duchess of Guise and Nemours, a consummate survivor, became superintendent of his bride Maria d’ Medici’s  household.  When Anne d’Este died, her heart was buried at Joinville with Francois and her Guise children, and her body was sent to Annecy to be buried with her second husband and his family.  She would have been a good role model for the Queen of Scots, whom she outlived by twenty years.  She was refined and educated, flexible when warranted, and hard of heart when required.  


Execution of the Queen of Scots, {{PD Art}}

During the last days of her life, the Queen of Scots still looked to France for her salvation. Her last letter was written to Charles IX, King of France, Catherine’s son. It was Anne’s son Henri, third Duke of Guise whom she had expected to lead a military expedition to England to save her, unfortunately at a time when the Guises had problems of their own. She petitioned Elizabeth to allow her to retire to the Guise controlled convent of Saint Pierre les Dames du Rheims where her Aunt Renee was the abbess, and where the last of the Four Maries to leave her service, Marie Seton, had gone to spend her final years. Elizabeth refused. Ironically, the Queen of Scots,  who was happiest as Queen of France,  is buried in Westminster Abbey in a country she never ruled, across the aisle from the Queen of England, who signed her death warrant.  Even in death, she did not choose her own company.

Thank you for joining me in this brief look at the women in Marie Stuart's France. ~ Linda Root

Linda Root is the author of six historical novels set in the late 16th and early seventeenth century, The First Marie and the Queen of Scots, (2011) and The Last Knight and the Queen of Scots (2013), both large historicals, and the Legacy of the Queen of Scots Suite consisting of four books to date and the fifth coming in early 2016.  Visit her author’s page: She also writes historical fantasy under the name J.D. Root.  Root is a former major crimes prosecutor living in the high desert above Palm Springs with husband Chris and two Alaskan malamutes Maxx and Maya.  Visit her author page on Amazon at


  1. Thank you for the education..much appreciated.

  2. I love the way you started and ended your post...with a full circle. You made complicated relations clear to the reader, a feat that stems from knowing your topic backwards and forward. It is indeed important to remember what religious team a writer is playing for when reading memoirs. Thank you for underlining that.

  3. You make these women come to life. Thank you for sharing so many rich stories in such a readable form.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.