While reading my Scotland Magazine and an article on Exploring the Boarders it mentioned Neidpath Castle. Built above the River Tweed as it flows through the Burgh of Peebles high in the hills of Tweeddale and one of the central towns of the Scottish boarders. This is an area of rolling hills and spectacular beauty. MP and I were there a few months ago and I remember how we went for a walk along the river. The water was crystal clear and you could see the smooth flat stones on the river bed. We stopped and had a go at skipping stones across the surface of the water which I hadn’t done in years.
MP was a champion at it with several stones skipping across the water and with one throw almost reaching the other side.
Then I had a go…
First stone thrown……plop.. Second stone throw….plop Third stone throw…plop
Right.. I’m bored….lets go..
We climbed further up the hill along the river and then MP pointed out the view in the distance on the bend of the river.
It was Neidpath Castle. !! Right there !! In front of me.!!
Mary Queen of Scots visited there in 1563 but what was she doing then? What was going on in her life?
Well, Mary was 21 years old. It was her third progress from Edinburgh and begun at the end of June after her first parliament and completed 0n the 7th September.
In the past five years, while living in France, her mother Mary of Guise who held the regency for her daughter in Scotland had died, she had married Francois the Dauphin of France and the couple were later crowned King and Queen of France and also claimed England and Ireland. Her husband died young and she becomes dowager queen of France. At the age of eighteen she returned to Scotland to establish her power base, the land of her birth but never considered her home, feeling more like a queen in exile on an island divided by religion, factious people and a lawless border. Her first progress resulted in what became known as the Huntly Rebellion. Her people rallied around her, marveling at the sight of their beautiful young queen on horseback demanding entry to Inverness Castle which was being refused to her on the orders of Lord Gordon – Huntly’s eldest son and heir. The castle is surrendered and Huntly’ son is swiftly tried in Aberdeen and found guilty of treason. His execution is carried out in front of Mary to show the people what happens to those who show contempt of her authority.
Her cousin, Elizabeth I, had been crowned Queen of England and Ireland and both women were under constant pressure to find husbands and return the realm to the ‘natural order’ That being a monarchy lead by a man. The cousins where in constant contact with each other through their ambassadors and their relationship at this time was amiable and kindly. Elizabeth had sent Mary a ring as a token of goodwill with Mary reportedly stating
“Well two jouels I have that muste die with me, and willinglie shall never owte of my sighte”
The other ring being that of her husband the late King Francois II of France.
This story of two queens, cousins, rivals, friends, who never met is spellbinding and tragic and I was lucky enough to be able to spend some time where part of the story was played out.
Stay Posted….. Love L