In the Footsteps of Mary Queen of Scots: A Three-Part Course with Dr. Alan Montgomery

In the Footsteps of Mary Queen of Scots: A Three-Part Course with Dr. Alan Montgomery


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Of all the captivating tales that make up Scotland’s long history, few are as romantic and dramatic as that of Mary Queen of Scots. Crowned queen of Scotland aged only nine months old, she was sent to France as a child to marry a crown prince. Briefly, Queen of France, Mary returned to Scotland after the sudden death of her husband and would spend the next few years struggling to control her wayward nobles and assert her royal power. Two more disastrous marriages, her Catholic faith, and her sex would all count against her, and Mary was finally forced to flee to England, where she hoped to find safety and support. Instead, she would spend, nineteen years a prisoner until her execution in 1587.

Incredibly, many of the buildings that witnessed the key events of Mary’s turbulent reign can still be visited today. From the Renaissance elegance of the palaces of Linlithgow, Falkland, and Holyrood to the atmospheric ruins of Loch Leven Castle, Dundrennan Abbey, and Fotheringay, the places which played host to Mary Queen of Scots offer a unique insight into the highs and lows of her short but action-packed life. Including some of Britain’s most beautiful historical sites, this three-part virtual tour will trace the story of Mary Queen of Scots through the buildings that she inhabited, featuring the sumptuous palaces where she was lavishly entertained, the monasteries where she sought refuge, and the grim fortresses in which she was imprisoned.

Led by a Scottish historian, these interactive seminars will explore the main events in the life of Mary Queen of Scots through the historic buildings where they happened. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an insight into the life and times of one of Scotland’s most fascinating historical figures.

Lecture 1: The Infant Queen

Our first lecture will introduce Mary Queen of Scots and outline her place within Scotland's royal Stuart dynasty. It will also feature the places in Scotland where the young queen lived, including her birthplace Linlithgow Palace and Inchmahome Priory, where she was sheltered before setting sail for France.

Lecture 2: The Returning Queen

Lecture two will focus on the period of Mary's rule after her return from France as she struggled to establish herself as Scotland's monarch. It will include detailed discussions of the palaces and castles that she visited whilst at the height of her powers, such as Holyrood Palace, Falkland Palace, and Traquair House.

Lecture 3: Queen on the Run

The third and final lecture will chart Mary's dramatic battle to retain her throne and follow her on her doomed flight into England. As well as featuring Scottish monuments such as Loch Leven Castle and Dundrennan Abbey, it will also include the English castles where Mary would spend her later life as a prisoner.

Alan Montgomery was born and raised in Scotland but has spent most of his adult life in London. Having achieved an MA in Art History at Glasgow University, he worked for many years in the art world at both an international auction house and an antique dealer. In recent years he has returned to academia, achieving an MA in Classical Civilisation in 2011, and has recently completed a Ph.D. in which he analyzed eighteenth-century attitudes towards the ancient Roman world. In addition to his work for Context Travel, Alan also writes catalog essays on Contemporary Art for a leading auctioneer. Elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in 2017, his first book, entitled 'Classical Caledonia', was published by Edinburgh University Press in August 2020.

How does it work?

This is a three-part series held weekly and hosted on Zoom. Please check the schedule for the specific dates and times for each lecture.

Is there a reading list in advance?

Though the course is open to participants with no background on this topic there are suggested readings for further investigation. You will receive this soon after course registration.

How long are the lectures?

Each lecture is 90 minutes long with time for Q&A.

How much is the course?

The course is $105 for three lectures.

Is a recording available?

Yes. If you need to miss a lecture, you will be sent a recording after the event.

This course is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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