Mary passed her childhood in France and married the Dauphin to become Queen of France at the age of 16. Widowed less than two years later, she returned to Scotland as Queen after an absence of 13 years. Her life then entered its best known phase: the early struggles with John Knox and the unruly Scottish nobility; the fatal marriage to Darnley and his mysterious death; her marriage to Bothwell, the chief suspect, that led directly to her long English captivity at the hands of Queen Elizabeth; the poignant and extraordinary story of her long imprisonment that ended with the labyrinthine Babington plot to free her, and her execution at the age of 44.
Antonia Fraser's biography, four years in the writing, enters fully into the life of an historical figure who continues to capture the popular imagination. It provides a moving answer to the question, "What was Mary Queen of Scots really like?"