The History of Leith

March 6, 2012

The Queen’s Maries

The Queen’s Maries, so celebrated in tradition, in history, and in song, who accompanied her to France—namely, Mary, daughter of Lord Livingston, Mary, daughter of Lord Fleming, Mary, daughter of
Lord Seton, and Mary Beaton of Balfour, were all married in succession but doubtless, so long as she resided at Holyrood she had her maids of honour, and the name of ” Queen’s Maries” became a general designation for her chosen attendants; hence the old ballad :—•
“Now bear a hand, my Maries a’
And busk me braw and fine.”
Her four Maries, who received precisely the same education as herself, and were taught by the same masters, returned with her to Scotland with their acknowledged beauty refined by all the graces the Court of France could impart; and in a Latin masque, composed by Buchanan, entitled the ” Pomp of the Gods,” acted at Holyrood in July, 1567, before her marriage with Darnley,Diana speaks to Jupiter of her five Maries—the fifth being the queen herself; and well known is the pathetic old ballad which says :—
” Yest’reen the Queen had four Maries,
This night she’ll have but three;
There was Marie Beaton and Marie Seaton
And Mary Carmichael and me.”
source-Old and New Edinburgh

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