Pravin Gandhi: A Beautiful Music – Mary, Queen of Scots

If you have been to Edinburgh, you would no doubt have visited the Holyrood Palace at the opposite end of the Edinburg Castle.
However, this post is not about the place or history, but about the enigmatic Mary, Queen of Scots and – a beautiful music.

Briefly *:

Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh

Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh

Mary was 6 days old when she became Queen. She spent her childhood in France while Scotland was ruled by regents. In 1558, Mary briefly became queen of France. Widowed, Mary returned to Scotland in 1561 and lived in the Holyrood palace till her forced abdication in 1567.

She married Lord Darnley in 1565 and was pregnant with his child when he killed her private secretary Rizzio in her own chambers out of  jealousy and suspicion. In February 1567, Darnley was himself found murdered in the garden. She married James Hepburn in April 1567. Following an uprising against the couple, Mary was imprisoned. In July 1567, she was forced to abdicate in favour of James, her one-year-old son from Darney.

She fled southwards seeking the protection of her distant cousin, Queen Elizabeth I of England. Mary had previously claimed Elizabeth’s throne as her own and was considered the legitimate sovereign of England by many English Catholics. Perceiving her as a threat, Elizabeth had her confined in a number of castles and manor houses in the interior of England. While the imprisoned queen lived in luxurious confinement and lost all will to harm her enemies, they continued to plot her final destruction and convinced Queen Elizabeth of her involvement in plotting a rebellion against her. Elizabeth was hesitant for signing her cousin’s death warrant. Finally Elizabeth confronts Mary, who regains her royal pride and behaves defiantly at their secret meeting. Although Elizabeth offers her mercy if she begs for forgiveness, Mary would not beg for mercy in public. She endures the trial, conviction and execution.

And thus, after more than 18 years in confinement, Mary was executed. Mary lost 3 husbands, 3 kingdoms and finally her head.

Mary, Queen of Scots, the movie
In 1971 a movie was made on the life of Mary, Queen of Scots. with Vanessa Redgrave as Mary and Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth I. The music was composed by John Barry who has also composed the iconic James Bond signature tune, the score for films like Born Free, Midnight Cowboy and many others.

This Way, Mary
Turn up the speaker volume, Click here to play (2 min) “This way Mary”, close your eyes, imagine Mary being led from her chambers to her execution – actually being told ‘This way, Mary’ – and feel the pathos, and the inevitability while you listen.
Or, click here to listen (2 min) to a string ensemble rehearsing This Way Mary and take your pick.

Enjoy a Beautiful Music
* source – Wikipedia

Pravin Gandhi is the author of “One at a time – short stories to muse by”

Check it out here: or