Mary Queen of Scots and Pierre de Boscosel

16th century Scotland was a dangerous place for those in the higher echelons of society. Apart from the likelihood of dying on the battlefield or being murdered as the result of a local feud, it was not uncommon to fall foul of the executioner’s axe. Death by execution was quite a common occurrence and was used for a wide range of offences. However, I doubt whether passion and lust were amongst these offences.

This very human trait looks to be the reason for the execution of Pierrre de Boscosel, Sieur de Chastelard, a young French courtier who accompanied Mary Queen of Scots as a page when she returned to Scotland. It seems that he became infatuated by Mary, who had openly displayed her affection for him, and, as a result, drove him to take considerable risks .

His first misfortune was to be found by her grooms hiding under the royal bed, albeit fully clothed, spurred and armed with a sword. He was ejected from the palace. When notified of this indiscretion, the Queen dismissed him from the court. On that very day, St Valentine’s day, the court moved to St Andrew’s, where on the following night, he once again breached security. Paying scant regard to his banishment, he burst in on Mary, who was half undressed and about to go to bed. The Queen was livid. Chastelard begged her forgiveness. His excuse, incredulous though it may sound, was that he had been “heavy for want of sleep” and that her bedroom had been the nearest place of refuge.

The screams of outrage brought her half brother, The Earl of Moray, to the bedroom, where she besought him to..”slay Chastelard and let him never speak a word!” Moray was only too well aware of Mary’s previous flirtations with Chastelard and wisely declined to do so, adding that he would have him tried and dealt with by the appropriate authority.

Apparently, Mary asked whether he would be allowed to speak, and Moray responded……. ” I shall do , madam, what in me lieth to save your honour.”

8 days later Chastelard was executed for treason. His final words were ” Adieu the most beautiful and the most cruel princess in the world”.

Mary, as his accuser, was duty bound to watch his execution. The threat against the royal personage was reason enough, but as her reign subsequently proved, he was the first of many to tread this path!

Much maligned or much misunderstood? This is just one episode in the story of this iconic monarch. Want to know more?…………… then, why not join me on my 3 day tour on the reign of Mary Queen of Scots.

Mary, Queen of Scots, playing golf with her courtier, Pierre de Boscosel de Chastelard at St Andrews. Amadee Forestie

Mary, Queen of Scots, playing golf with her courtier, Pierre de Boscosel de Chastelard at St Andrews. Amadee Forestie


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