Explore the life of Mary Queen of Scots with National Records of Scotland

04 August 2022
Looking for information about the extraordinary life and times of Mary Queen of Scots? National Records of Scotland offers access to a wealth of rare and priceless material relating to the Stewart queen. Read on to discover more.

Explore the Mary Queen of Scots image gallery

The Mary Queen of Scots Image Gallery in the NRS Hall of Fame has a number of images of rare documents relating to Mary's turbulent life.


  • a warrant signed by Mary relating to her son James VI's spectacular baptism ceremony
  • details of payments to the mariners who took the young Mary Queen of Scots to France for her first marriage
  • an inventory of Mary's books, church vestments and masquing clothes
  • an extract from a minute book relating to the murder of Mary's companion David Rizzio
  • Mary’s earliest surviving letter, written to her mother as a young child
  • a letter from Francis, Mary's new husband, to his mother-in-law

Explore the images at the NRS Hall of Fame.

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Discover facts about Mary's life in the Hall of Fame

The NRS Hall of Fame is a fascinating introduction to Mary's life and her place in Scottish history. Find out where Mary was born, who her three husbands were and explore the links to take your research further.

Test your skills at Scottish handwriting

The NRS Scottish Handwriting resource offers online tuition in palaeography for historians, genealogists and other researchers who have problems reading manuscript historical records written in Scotland in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

Try these three Mary-related posers for starters!

  • court books of the High Court of Justiciary, 1566 (part 1) here
  • court books of the High Court of Justiciary, 1566 (part 2) here
  • court books of the High Court of Justiciary, 1566 (part 3) here

For more on exploring Scotland's rich history, visit the National Records of Scotland website for details of its collections, family history and record keeping resources.

Originally published November 2020. Reviewed August 2022.