It is the year of our Lord 1565/6. The religious strife in Scotland, finds that gap widening. Our good Queens tolerance for the Protestant faith does little but aggravate many of her Noblemen the Lords of the Congregation. The streets of Edinburgh itself has seen civil dispute, if not outright treason and war.
Our Queen is not without her own troubles. She has had to Put to the Horn many of her Noblemen for treason, and has watched them flee to the protection of her cousin, Elizabeth the Queen of England. While Elizabeth delivers word to Scotland that she will not get involved in the civil strife of Scotland, her actions betray her words. The nobles are allowed to stay in England, out of the reach of Mary, Queen of Scots. Her friend and confidant, David Riccio; her personal secretary, was assassinated right in her very presence, during a private meal in the Queens own chambers. Where it not for the Countess of Argyle holding high the candelabra, keeping the room in light, the Queens own life may have been in danger. Her marriage with Lord Darnley, is falling asunder. It is rumored that it was his jealousy and ambition to be King that drove him to orchestrate the murder of Riccio. Mary, Queen of Scots however is not without her own supporters. Along with their aid, and her own resourcefulness she has been able to hold firmly onto the crown that is rightfully hers.
Despite or Queens problems, she has never lost faith in Rome, God, and her right to rule over Scotland and the Isles. One bright spot in the eyes of our Queen (and all of Scotland) is the Baptism of her son, Prince James Stewart VI. Disregarding the religious strife, the christening of James was one of the biggest Catholic celebrations Scotland had seen in years. Royal coffers were stretched to their limits. Ambassadors from many distant lands were hosted in great style. It brought the country together; at least for a moment in time.
It is this moment in time that is the focus of this years Pittsburg Scottish Renaissance Festival. The Queen of England was asked to be the you Princes Godmother. She of course could not refuse, but alas she could not attend, instead asking the Countess of Argyle to stand as her proxy. Elizabeth dispatched the Earl of Bedford to attend the Baptism in her stead with a font of gold, for the young prince. She sent word with Bedford, expressing her fears that the prince may well have outgrown it saying, " if you find it so, you may observe that our good sister has only to keep it for the next, or some such merry talk". It is during this merry time for Scotland that Mary pardons those lords that were in exile in England.
Our battle pageant this year steps backward a bit in time, and represents the civil war raised in Edinburgh prior to the baptism of James. It was during this time that the Lords of the Congregation, lead by James Stewart, Earl of Moray, the Duke of Glengairn and Archibald Campbell, Earl of Argyle, advanced to Edinburgh. They entered Edinburgh, at the head of a thousand troops to defend their land and title on the last day of August. They were under the mistaken impression that Elizabeth would support them in every way for the sake of the Protestant faith. When they arrived in Edinburgh, they were received coldly by the citizens, and were unable to rally any support
there. Mary, acting quickly, was able to put down the action of her Nobles forcing them to flee to Dumfries, and subsequently to Carlisle. It has been written that Mary herself rode head of her troops, with pistols at her saddle, declaring that she would rather peril own crown then loose her revenge.
The word of the day is the baptism of the future King of Scotland. Of
course it is known to many of James rightful claim to the English thrown as well. Religion, if not on the lips of everyone, is certainly on their minds. The Protestant Nobles of Scotland wielded great power, and they were not afraid to use it. They had the law of Parliament and Peerage behind them to put down any Catholic ceremony, save that of the Queen herself. The murder of Riccio, and the fall of the Nobles give everyone cause to either mourn or rejoice. The choice is yours, but choose you must.
Page was created and maintained by Jennifer Hayes.