Threat of French Husband for Mary Queen of Scots – Seymour’s Plan to Betroth her to Prince Edward Instead – Subjugation of Scotland
The baby now famously known as Mary Queen of Scots was six days old when she acceded to the throne of Scotland. Her birth was one of the most significant events in Scottish, English and British history; the permutations for her future were numerous and the consequences for those she touched were enormous.
If she married a French man, it would create a formal union between France and Scotland with the probability of Scotland being swallowed up as a French domain. That situation had the potential to create an enormous military threat to England. If she married a Scotsman, her son would have a credible claim to the throne of England, but, that aside, if she were brought up as a Catholic, Mary Queen of Scots might kindle support for a claim to the English throne in her own right and rally the overthrow of the next king, Edward.
The Seymours’ position was ever more precarious as they sought to control the risks to their nephew and his kingship. For Edward Seymour, indeed for the Seymour party as a whole, it was imperative that baby Mary Queen of Scots be pledged in marriage to the young English prince, heir to the throne. To prepare her for marriage, it was vital she be moved, at any cost, from north of the border and brought up in England a long way away from the clutches of the Scots and the French and any hint of popish practice.
By that strategy, Edward Seymour considered, this sequence of events could be turned to his advantage, to unite the two kingdoms and considerably strengthen his own position. He would become Lord Protector of both kingdoms and so unite England and Scotland. A declaration, with a list of reasons, was published claiming that Henry VIII and his predecessor were the rightful kings of Scotland. Although that right had not been exercised for all these years, Henry was enforcing it now and the Scots should pay him homage to him, their rightful lord.