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Extra resources for Catholic Queen, Protestant Patriarchy: Mary Queen of Scots and the Politics of Gender and Religion

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39 By this argument, Knox rejected the possibility, contended by some of his contemporaries, that an unmarried woman could only be subject to her parents, and, therefore, may hold power without the worry of being inferior to another. 40 Knox proceeded to defend his argument by giving examples from nature, in which female beasts were innately inferior to their male counterparts (obviously the social structure of the beehive had yet to be determined). He placed the English and the Scottish people below the level of beasts for accepting a woman as ruler.

As a result, the two most important questions at Mary’s accession were who would govern the kingdom during her minority, and who the young queen would marry. With a minor as a monarch, the government of Scotland would remain in Scottish hands, but once Mary reached her majority, the Scots accepted that her husband would likely rule the kingdom in her name, and, most likely, that that husband would be a foreigner. Despite the fact that Mary became queen almost immediately after her birth, her royal identity did not separate her greatly from the women discussed in the Querelles des Femmes.

James V’s death shortly after the disaster at Solway Moss in 1542 meant that again the realm was facing a long minority government as Mary inherited the throne at the age of only eight days. The early years of the regency were filled with problems as factions split between pro-English and pro-French, pro-Protestant and pro-Catholic. The Earl of Arran became the original regent, but was challenged by the Earl of Lennox, Cardinal Beaton, and the queen mother, Mary of Guise. The factions, though, were not based primarily on the ideologies of their adherents, but instead were often 20 Catholic, Queen, Protestant Patriarchy created by the personal benefits one would gain by supporting one side or the other.

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