The History of Leith

March 2, 2011

The Landing of Mary

On the 20th of August, 1560, Queen Mary landed at the town to take possession of the throne of her ancestors. The time was about eight in the morning, and Ieith must have presented a different aspect than in the preceding year, when the cannon of the besiegers thundered against its walls. No vestige now remains of the pier which received her, though it must have been constructed subsequent to the destruction of the older one by the savage Earl of Hertford—the pier at which Magdalene of France, the queen of twenty summer days, had
landed so joyously in the May of 1537,
The keys of St Anthony’s Port were delivered to Mary, who was accompanied by her three uncles— Claude of Lorraine, Due d’Aumale, who was killed at the siege of Rochelte thirteen years after; Francis,
Grand Prior of Malta, general of the galleys of France, who died of fatigue after the battle of Dreux;and Rene, Marquis d’Elbceuff, who succeeded Francis as general of the galleys. She was attended
also by her” four Maries,” whose names, as given by Bishop Leslie, were Fleming, Beaton, Livingstone, and Season, who had been all along with her in France. Buchanan in 1565 mentions five Maries,
and the Insurer’s account at the same date mentions six, including two whose names were Simparten and Wardlaw.
The cheers of the people mingled with the boom of cannon, and, says Buchanan, ” the dangers she had undergone, the excellence of her mien, the delicacy of her beauty, the vigour of her blooming years, and the elegance of her wit, all joined in her recommendation.”
As the genial Ettrick Shepherd wrote:—
“After a youlh by woes o’ercast*,
After a thousand sorrows past,
The lovely Mary once again
Set foot upon her native plain ;
Kneeled on the pier with modest grace,
And turned to heaven her beauteous face
“There rode the Lords of France and Spain*
Of England,Flanders and Lorraine
White serried thousands round them stood
from shore of Leith to Holyrood

Source-Old and New Edinburgh

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