There’s something about Mary
A major new ﬁlm about Mary, Queen of Scots, will put the castles and battleﬁelds of her tragic ﬁnal days back in the spotlight. Peter Ross follows in her blood-soaked footsteps
Scotland to revamp its Mary, Queen of Scots trail. A fine opportunity, then, to follow in her footsteps.
Edinburgh is the place to start. Mary feels very present in Scotland’s capital. On display in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery is perhaps her most famous portrait – ravenishly regal in a black gown, right hand pale on a blood-red cloth – as well as oils of the many powerful men who worked against her interests to advance their own.
The National Museum of Scotland (Saoirse Ronan visited in preparation for the role) has a number of objects associated with Mary, including a silver and ebony crucifix that might, just might, have been hers. Many of the queen’s possessions were destroyed or dispersed following her death, lest they become relics – and the focus of Catholic rebellion; those that remain throb with haunted glamour.
The presence of Mary can be felt most palpably at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The official residence of the present queen sits at the foot of the Royal Mile; the private apartments once inhabited by Mary are open to visitors. They are furnished as they would have been in the