The 'gude regent?': a diplomatic perspective upon the Earl of Moray, Mary, Queen of Scots and the Scottish Regency, 1567-1570
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This thesis examines and re-evaluates the political career and reputation of James Stewart, Earl of Moray, who acted as Regent of Scotland for the young King James VI from 1567-1570, after the deposition of Mary, Queen of Scots. Drawing upon a rich and varied body of evidence located in both the English and Scottish archives of state papers, together with contemporary propaganda, memoirs and histories, this work constructs a much needed political narrative of the period, investigating the often highly complex politics which lay behind the outbreak and the initial stages of the Marian Civil War. It questions Maurice Lee's image of Moray as the 'gude regent', an image which was first present in Buchanan's History, and which depicts Moray as a highly successful regent, and an altruistic Protestant reformer. Dispelling Lee's view of Moray as a 'reluctant regent', it shows instead that the Earl was determined to gain, and then maintain, his position of power. It incorporates a discussion of the constitutionality of the actual regency itself, together with the theories of election which were drawn up to justify both it and the deposition of a monarch. In addition, the thesis sheds light upon the dynamics of Scottish political alignment during the period, emphasising the great fluidity which was to be found, and showing how issues of internal government, and attitudes towards England, affected men's allegiances as much as, if not more than, the ostensible issue of monarchy itself. This study also builds upon recent work by Tudor historians such as John Guy and Stephen Alford, and sets Moray's regency within an Anglo-Scottish context, demonstrating the importance of the interconnections between events in England, such as the Norfolk plot, and Scottish politics. It investigates the English attitudes towards Mary, and towards the two rival parties within Scotland, taking into account the sometimes conflicting objectives of Elizabeth I and her leading ministers, such as William Cecil, yet showing how they consistently sought to gain dominance over Scotland. Moray's regency was cut short by his assassination, and this thesis concludes by considering both his murder and its aftermath. It explores how his death impacted upon the political situation, together with the way in which his reputation was shaped in the immediate period after his death. Finally, it investigates the opportunity that both Moray's assassination and the Northern Rising of late 1569 had given England to intervene in Scottish affairs, and further pursue policies to that country's own advantage.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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