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Mary Queen of Scots has been regarded as a controversial figure for over four centuries since her death in 1587. Was she a murdering adulteress or a victim of the patriarchal society of the day? In this lecture we will look at the facts of her truly tempestuous life and also the many circumstances which influenced her decision making and subsequent actions. These decisions ultimately lead to her downfall and her untimely death.

In her own words: “In my death is my beginning”.

Linda McDonald is a former teacher and a member of Edinburgh Living History, based in Lauriston Castle. She has in interest in researching women’s history. Linda is an award-winning volunteer and supports Museums and Galleries all over the service.


Edinburgh is 900 Years Old!

In 1124 King David I introduced a new system of local government into Scotland by creating royal burghs as part of his efforts to reform the nation’s economic and political structures.

Edinburgh was one of his first royal burghs, along with Berwick, Dunfermline, Roxburgh and Stirling.

While there is no surviving founding Edinburgh charter, an 1127 Dunfermline Abbey royal charter refers to ‘my burgh of Edinburgh’. In 1128, Canongate Burgh was created for Holyrood Abbey.

After the Reformation, Edinburgh spent considerable effort acquiring the former abbey’s lands over the following 200 years. It acquired Canongate then created a new burgh for South Leith in 1636. The burghs of Broughton, Calton and Portsburgh were also acquired and run by Edinburgh. This complex system of governance was abolished in 1856 when all burghs under the management of Edinburgh were merged into a single burgh.

In 1833, Portobello and Leith were made independent parliamentary burghs under the Burgh Reform Act. They ran their own affairs until amalgamated into an expanded Edinburgh in 1896 and 1920, respectively. 1975 saw the last expansion of the city’s boundaries, including Queensferry, which had been made a royal burgh in 1636.

Edinburgh has selected 2024 to mark the start of the 900th anniversary of our city, and to tell the story of Edinburgh’s journey through the centuries from the 12th century City of David right up to the 21st century, the City of Diversity. Our talks at the City Art Centre will celebrate the 10 themes and will span a period of summer 2024 until August 2025.

Mary Queen of Scots- Femme Fatale or a Victim of Circumstance?