mary queen of scots

Linlithgow Palace

Of all the places that I visited during my recent research trip to Edinburgh, Linlithgow Palace was perhaps the biggest surprise. I went along one rainy morning expecting to find a completely empty shell but instead discovered that there is much more than that left standing of the former pleasure palace of the Stewart Kings of Scotland where both James V and his daughter Mary Queen of Scots were born. Along with all the other Scottish royal residences, it was more or less abandoned after James VI went off to England to claim his throne and was eventually burned out […]


Falkland Palace

James V and Marie de Guise, anon artist, c1542. Photo: National Trust for Scotland. Oh dear, it’s now over a month since I returned from my amazing research trip to Edinburgh and I still haven’t finished writing up all of my adventures for this blog! In my defence, I’m incredibly busy right now with my other writing projects so haven’t had much time to spare for blog writing, but I hope that things will calm down a bit soon so that I can write a few more posts about what I’ve been up to. Although my research trip was primarily […]


Stirling Castle

Although I am hardly what one might call a morning person, I was still up bright and early for my second day in Scotland, which was to be spent at Stirling Castle, where the infant Mary Queen of Scots was crowned and lived until she was whisked away to the safety of her mother’s native France in 1547. Of all the places that I visited, I think this was the one where I felt closest to Marie de Guise, which is hardly surprising as it was here that she spent most of her regency after the birth of her daughter […]


Edinburgh Day One

Writing books can be a really long, hard, thankless slog but there are a myriad of compensations for the misery, not least the fact that if you’re really canny about subject matter, you can justify going on epic research trips to amazing places. It should come as no surprise whatsoever therefore to learn that as soon as I got my commission to write a full length biography of Marie de Guise, I immediately started planning research trips to France and Scotland to view places intimately connected with this most fascinating of queens. Although it would have made more sense chronologically […]


Edinburgh here I come

Marie de Guise, Corneille de Lyon, c1537. Photo: National Galleries of Scotland. Ooh la la, or maybe that should be och aye the noo? It’s okay, simmer down, I’m born and bred Scottish so I’m allowed to say that. Even if I somehow managed to grow up without the slightest trace of a Scottish accent and so say it in a weird sort of west country accent when I attempt it. Oh dear. What I wouldn’t give for a lovely soft Scottish accent like the one that my friend Alison is blessed with. I could sit and listen to her […]


Marie de Guise announcement

Marie de Guise, Corneille de Lyon, c1537. Photo: National Galleries of Scotland. I am very very pleased and happy and thrilled and EXCITED to announce that I have been commissioned by Pen and Sword Books to write a full length biography of Marie de Guise, the mother of Mary Queen of Scots alongside the series of novels that I am already writing about her life. Whereas plenty of attention has been paid to the disasters and mistakes of her daughter, I really feel like it is time for a fresh assessment of the abilities and successes of Marie, who was […]