Member of the Scottish Parliament seeks return of MQOS’ body

I was going to pass on this particular story since it will probably end up being one that is a bunch of talk that nothing ever comes of, but I couldn’t resist pointing out the historical error at the start of the article.

From the BBC:

A Nationalist MSP has called for the remains of Mary Queen of Scots to be returned to Scotland.

The Catholic monarch’s body has lain at Westminster Abbey in London since she was executed on the orders of her cousin Elizabeth I of England in 1587.

South of Scotland MSP Christine Grahame is to make a motion to the Scottish Parliament later this week demanding the body be repatriated.

Composer James MacMillan and Lib Dem MSP Hugh O’Donnell backed the call.

The phrasing implies that Mary was buried at the Abbey right after her execution, which isn’t correct – she was originally buried at Peterborough Cathedral. Her body was moved to Westminster Abbey during her son James I’s reign. Oh well, I guess I should just be glad that they didn’t call her “Bloody Mary” or say that she was Elizabeth I’s sister, both of which are errors I’ve caught in news articles before.

Full article

Edited to add: Just in case anyone reads the sentence up at the top and thinks that I *do* want something to come of it, I want to clarify that I don’t. James wanted his mother buried in the Abbey and that’s where I think she should stay. 🙂


  1. “…Falkland Palace, a place where Mary is believed to have spent her happiest days …”

    That would be France, actually. Perhaps she might have preferred to be buried there.

  2. That’s a good point! If it was up to Mary, she might have wanted to be buried with Francis.

  3. Before her execution, is there evidence that Mary made any special request as to where she wanted to be buried?

    In my mind is the idea that she asked to be taken to France, but now it can’t be remembered if that was something read in a ‘hys’terical novel.

    I can’t for the life of me think she’d want to spend eternity in Scotland. She wasn’t happy there. However, I can’t think she’s thankful to be buried in England, either.

    Lara, I’m with you in that I don’t think anything will come of this. It reminds me of the discussion last year with Scotland wanting the body of Bothwell back within its border.

  4. Being a cynic, I can’t help but see some dollar signs behind the motive to get her back. What would they say in the tour guide – Mary enjoyed many happy years here until what…when she was 5? And then when she came back we locked her up and took away her son. pleeeeeeease. Leave the poor woman alone.

    Tracey, Mary requested to be buried in France either beside her mother or her husband. Both requests were ignored.

  5. I’ve always thought it was a bit amusing that both Mary, Queen of Scots and Mary I of England, both staunch Catholics, ended up buried where Church of England services are conducted daily. I always feel like Elizabeth got the last word even though it was James who was responsible for his mother being there.

  6. Scotland has a strong nationalist movement, one that has been successful over the years in repatriating to Scotland a number of important symbols of Scottish history. One of the most famous of those is the Stone of Scone, which was returned to Scotland from Westminster Abbey in 1996. The nationalist movement has also been remarkably successful in its efforts at devolution, winning the re-establishment of a Scottish Parliament in the late 1990s. I would not under-estimate the ability of the Scottish nationalist movement to achieve what it desires.

    Mary Stuart represents an important period in Scottish national history. It is easy to understand why Scottish nationalists might want one of their queens returned to Scottish soil. I can also foresee the larger UK government acquiescing to the demand-request in an effort at appeasement, if only to stem any rising tide of separatism.

    For my part, I think it is entirely appropriate that Mary Stuart be re-interred in Scottish soil. She was, afterall, a monarch of Scotland, not England. She was interred in the Abbey only because her son James desired it. His motivation was almost certainly less familial (he was long estranged from his mother) than political. Mary Stuart belongs in Scotland, buried with her larger Stuart family.

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