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Queen Mary in D&G

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By Fiona Reid
Queen Mary in D&G

A NEW film opens in cinemas later this month based on the life of Mary Queen of Scots.

Starring Saoirse Ronan as the eponymous Mary and Margot Robbie as her cousin Queen Elizabeth I, it chronicles the 1569 conflict between the cousins and their two countries.

And while Dumfries and Galloway doesn’t feature in the movie, Mary did have links to this region. In fact, it was where she spent her last night ever in Scotland.

On May 15 1568 she stayed at Dundrennan Abbey and the next morning boarded a boat at nearby Port Mary bound for the Cumberland coast and England. She never returned.

In happier times, she is believed to have also been a visitor at Sweetheart Abbey, Glenluce Abbey, Sanquhar Castle and possibly went on pilgrimage to St Ninian’s Cave at Whithorn.

In addition, she is known to have visited Hermitage Castle near Newcastleton in late 1566 to see the Earl of Bothwell, her lover, who had been wounded and was recovering there. On her return to Jedburgh that same day she fell in a bog and contracted a fever which almost killed her.

Furthermore, Mary was also held as a prisoner at Carlisle Castle for several weeks in May 1567 after fleeing from her rebellious subjects in Scotland to England. She was housed in what was known as the Warden’s Tower and, according to English Heritage, it cost Elizabeth I £56 a week in food and wine to support her court there.

  • Pictured above: Saoirse Ronan stars as Mary Stuart. Picture courtesy of Liam Daniel/Focus Features

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