Throughout the Middle Ages into the sixteenth century, France and Scotland were closely allied under the banner of « my enemies’ enemy is my friend », and both were enemies of England. Mary, a woman from the powerful Guise family in France, became queen consort of Scotland when she married James V, and was the mother to Mary Stuart. There has been much less scholarship produced on Mary of Guise than on a number of early modern queens, hence the value of Pamela Ritchie‘s work, which reassesses Mary of Guise’s role in Scottish history in a series of thematic chapters. In the 1550s Mary of Guise was the effective ruler of Scotland. As a woman, a foreigner and a Catholic, Mary faced serious problems exacerbated by the hostility of the Protestant English. Yet she managed to protect her daughter and achieve a measure of stability. Richie’s work is significant in examining not only Scotland’s internal politics, but also Scotland’s relation with France and its major role in European affairs. Ritchie argues that dynastic stability was far more important to Mary of Guise than religion.
If not much has been written about Mary of Guise, the amount of ink spilled on her daughter Mary Stuart more than makes up for it.
The Ahsgate Research Companion to Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe, edited by Allyson M. Poska, Jane Couchman and Katherine A. McIver, Ashgate 2013.