Mary Queen of Scots pippins

Mary Queen of Scots

In the days of bodices and doublets the upper classes could use dolls to get an idea of how a particular outfit would look at life size. They’re the only known evidence for the use of “pippins” (from the French poupée) in Renaissance Scotland, and were used by the European glitterati in the 16th and 17th century as a way of keeping up with the latest trends. Research undertaken by Dr Michael Pearce on behalf of Historic Environment Scotland shows that after the battle of Carberry (which led inexorably to her downfall) “pippens, fantasies, and feathers” belonging to Mary Queen of Scots were packed away and locked up in Edinburgh Castle. Dr Pearce comments: “The inventory also reveals how Mary dressed these pippins in the best silks to fashion her European court, as it records a payment in 1563 to Jacques, her tailor, to make grey and silver clothes for a set of dolls. “Much more useful than diplomatic accounts or portraits, these dolls’ outfits would have been exquisitely crafted to display the latest trends in materials, accessories and dress styles. Hello Dollies … Stuart era fashionistas used these 16th century Barbies as guides to the latest style “The miniature versions could then be exchanged and replicated by tailors elsewhere”. Rachel Pickering, Senior Cultural Resources Advisor at HES, said: “While fashion dolls such as these became common in the 17th century, evidence for their earlier use is poorly documented – making this new interpretation of Mary’s inventories so significant. “There is evidence of use of these dolls in 16th century France, with records showing Francois I requested a set from Isabella d’Este, one of the leading women of the Italian Renaissance, for the women of his court. “Mary Queen of Scots was raised at the court of Francois’ son Henry II, and his wife, Catherine de Medici also had a set of dolls among her personal belongings”.

Visit the key locations in the life of Mary Queen of Scots on our private tours. Phone 07305-294773 for more details

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Mary Queen of Scots film day tour

Mary Queen of Scots film day tours

Our tour features a visit to the key places in the life of Mary Queen of Scots including Linlithgow Palace and Stirling Castle plus a visit to Blackness Castle, one of the locations used in the film . The new Mary Queen of Scots film features Oscar Nominee Saoirse Ronan performs the role of the ambitious Mary, whose attempts to reclaim the throne of Scotland incurs the wrath of the maniacal virgin queen, Elizabeth I, played by Margot Robbie.

Linlithgow Palace

Linlithgow Palace is where Mary was born in 1542.

Linlithgow Palace tours

Next to the Palace is the medieval St Michael’s Parish Church where Mary was baptised . A new bronze statue of Mary has been erected next to the church .

Linlithgow Palace featured as Wentworth Prison in Outlander.
This royal pleasure palace and birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots

Stirling Castle is where Mary was brought to be crowned as an infant.

This was her home until she was 5 years old. The castle features the Royal Palace , rose gardens and Royal Apartments. In the castle Mary saw the baptism of her son, James VI . Sadly this is also the place where she sees him for the last time.

Loch Leven

Loch Leven recalls one of the more sombre periods in Mary’s life. Loch Leven Castle is where Mary was imprisoned for nearly a year, suffered a miscarriage and was forced to abdicate in favour of her son James. She eventually escaped with the help of George Douglas but went on to suffer defeat at The Battle of Langside, and on to imprisonment in England. The tour visits Loch Leven to see the location of Loch Leven Castle on an island . A trip to the castle is not included .

falkland palace

Falkland Palace, the favourite retreat of the Stewarts. Mary is thought to have enjoyed some of her happiest days here, enjoying hunting and hawking and playing tennis on the world’s oldest tennis court. On a more haunting note, it is here that her father James V was said to utter the prophecy of The Stewart Dynasty “It cam’ wi’ a lass and it’ll gang wi’ a lass” and you can also see a copy of her death mask.

Blackness Castle

Blackness Castle was used as a location in number of scenes in the film. The castle tower features in a few scenes .

Nine key dates in the life of Mary Queen of Scots

  1. Born 8 December 1542 in Linlithgow Palace.
  2. Crowned Queen of Scots in the Chapel Royal, Stirling Castle, aged just nine months.
  3. Smuggled to France aged five, where she lived until she was 18.
  4. Gave birth to her only child in Edinburgh Castle. He would rise to become James VI of Scotland and I of England.
  5. Some believe she arranged to have her second husband, Lord Darnley, assassinated.
  6. Married for a third time to Lord Bothwell – some believe he abducted her against her will.
  7. Imprisoned for almost a year in Lochleven Castle in Kinross before managing to escape.
  8. Last hours in Scotland were spent in Dundrennan Abbey in Dumfries & Galloway before journeying to England to seek protection from her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I.
  9. Confined in England for 18 years before Elizabeth sanctioned her death warrant and she was beheaded. She died 8 February 1587 in Fotheringhay Castle.

The new Mary Queen of Scots film features Oscar Nominee Saoirse Ronan performs the role of the ambitious Mary, whose attempts to reclaim the throne of Scotland incurs the wrath of the maniacal virgin queen, Elizabeth I, played by Margot Robbie. Former Dr Who David Tennant also features in the film as John Knox . Much of the filming for the £180 million project has taken place in Edinburgh, 20 miles from the queen’s birthplace in Linlithgow, with scenes also shot in Glencoe, Blackness Castle , Oxford and Derbyshire. The film also features a digital recreation of Linlithgow Palace ,  birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots.

Mary Queen of Scots film day tours . Tour price £250 . Phone 07305-294773 or book online .

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will there be an “Outlaw King” effect in Scotland ?

At Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of Scotland’s tragic Mary, Queen of Scots, the volunteer guides and workers are preparing for a tourist surge.

This 15th-century palace, a bulwark of the Stuart dynasty, is astonishingly well preserved and already draws visitors who walk among its stone halls and ramparts and admire its little loch.

Outlaw King tours from Private tours Edinburgh . Phone 07305-294773 for more details or contact us online.

But Frances Murray, tour guide and shop manager, knows there are more on the way. Why? Because last week Netflix launched Outlaw King, a production about the life of Robert the Bruce, filmed in part at Linlithgow. And, following the huge success of the Outlander TV drama series, filmed in several Scottish locations, the country knows a thing or two about the TV effect.

“The uplift places such as this get from television shows like Outlander is amazing, and we’re expecting the same from Outlaw King,” said Murray yesterday. “Sometimes, though, we get tourists from overseas who ask to see specific rooms where some of the scenes were shot, and we have to explain that they don’t actually exist. But this is such a beautiful and interesting building that they soon get wrapped up in it.”

The West Lothian palace was only one of several Scottish locations for the new film, which stars Chris Pine as the warrior overlord. The others read like the index of a tourist brochure: Borthwick Castle, Dunfermline Abbey, Glasgow Cathedral and Doune Castle near Stirling. And the beautiful landscapes of Skye are already upstaging the principal actors.

VisitScotland, the national tourist agency, has produced two glossy and substantial brochures that chronicle some recent world-class productions. On the cover of one of them a moody Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall stands beside his silver Aston Martin with the mists of Glen Coe gathering behind him. In 2015 an online poll conducted by USA Today voted Scotland the world’s best cinematic destination. The country’s filmic credits include well-known movies such as BraveheartThe Da Vinci CodeThe 39 Steps and Whisky Galore. But it also makes atmospheric cameo appearances in movies such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, where the ethereal beauty of Harris was deployed by Stanley Kubrick to realise his imagined Jupiter.

Next year another major historical drama built around this nation’s vivid and bloody history will be released in British cinemas. This time it will be Mary, Queen of Scots herself who will get the Hollywood treatment in a film starring Saoirse Ronan as Mary and David Tennant as John Knox .

Tourism, along with whisky and salmon, forms the cornerstone of the Scottish economy. In a recent interview Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: “Tourism is integral to sustaining communities across Scotland by generating income, creating jobs and stimulating social change – and it generates around £11bn of economic activity.” He also reckoned that one new job is created in Scotland for every £60,000 spent by visitors.

VisitScotland has calculated that, taken together, the value of direct and indirect spending represents 4.5% of the Scottish economy, and that visitors’ spending accounts for almost £9bn per year. But recent analysis by the Scottish government suggests that a lot more growth can still be found from the tourism sector’s productivity, and that it was the lowest of six sectors targeted for growth in the national economic strategy. Film and television tourism will be vital components in achieving this growth.

Sam Heughan and some extras carrying swords
 Sam Heughan in Outlander. Photograph: Aimee Spinks/Starz/© 2017 Sony Pictures Television Inc. All Rights Reserved

Fiona Hyslop, culture and tourism minister in the Scottish government, yesterday spoke of her delight that the world’s top film and television producers are now making Scotland one of their first destinations. “Producers now know that when they choose Scotland, as well as magnificent scenery and locations they’re now getting highly-skilled and professional technical crews to go with them,” she said.

Crucially, too, the long wait for a world-class national film studio could soon be over. At last week’s Bafta Scotland awards first minister Nicola Sturgeon referred to the need for a national film studio, saying: “Watch this space.”

Yet some would say that with its remarkable scenery and stunning vistas, Scotland already possesses the best natural film studio in the world.

Outlaw King tours

Take a tour of The Outlaw King film locations in Scotland , featuring Blackness Castle and Linlithgow Palace . Phone 07305-294773 for more details. Starring Chris Pine as Robert the Bruce the lavish Netflix production was filmed at 45 different locations across Scotland .

    • Blackness Castle
    • Linlithgow Palace
    • Bannockburn
  • Doune Castle

Robert the Bruce was born on the 11th of July 1274 in Turnberry Castle and died in 1329 in Cardross. Bruce’s body is buried in Dunfermline Abbey and his heart is buried in the ruins of Melrose Abbey.

The Outlaw King Robert the Bruce was crowned King of Scotland at Scone Palace on the Stone of Destiny.

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Spooky castles – the most haunted Halloween castles in the UK

Linlithgow Palace 44 HDR print by David Rankin

The UK has hundreds of ruined castles. But some castles are more spooky than others. Here’s a list of the spookiest , most haunted castles in the UK , ideal for a visit at Halloween . If you’re brave enough to visit one of these castles , why not send a  free Halloween greeting card

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle commands the whole of the city centre , sitting on a volcanic rock . The castle is perhaps the spookiest in Britain because it has many ghosts. There is a drummer who only appears when the castle is
about to be attacked. A piper who disappeared in the
tunnels between the castle and the High Street comes back to haunt the dungeons. The castle is Scotland’s biggest visitor attraction with thousands of visitors each year.

edinburgh castle screensavers
Buy Edinburgh
Castle screensaver
£3.95

Send a free Edinburgh Castle Halloween e-card.

Eilean Donan Castle

This is one of the most picturesque and most photographed castles in
the world . Robert the Bruce took refuge here in 1306 . The
original castle was destroyed in 1719 when 3 English
frigates attacked the Spanish troops garrisoned there
. The castle was rebuilt in the 20th century . This castle is spooky because the spirit of
a Spanish troop is said to haunt the castle.

Send a free Halloween e-card

Eilean
Donan castle screensavers

. More pictures of Eilean
Donan Castle

Craigievar
Castle

The Blue Bedroom is the haunt of one of the Gordon clan members, who
fell from a window. He had been pushed to his death by “Red”
Sir John Forbes, a noble. Several people heard the step of
the unfortunate Gordon climbing the stairs to the Blue
Bedroom, as if he was living the moment before his death
again and again.One of the
other ghosts is one of a musician, who is very selective (he
shows himself just to people with the name of Forbes). He
fell in the moat of the castle and drowned. Send free Halloween e-cards

Linlithgow Palace

This was the castle of the Stewart kings of Scotland from the 15th
century . In 1512Mary , Queen of Scots was born here .
Queen Margaret’s Tower at the top of the stair towers
, is said to be haunted by the Queen’s mother , Mary of Guise , waiting for the
return of her husband , James V .

More pictures of Linlithgow Palace

Linlithgow travel guide

Crathes
Castle

In the oldest part of the castle, the double tower, there is a room
known as the Green Lady’s Room, because of the several
apparitions of this unknown woman with a baby. It is said
that she’s a member of the Burnett family, proprietor of the
castle.These
apparitions began after the discover of two skeletons,
during renovation work : one of a woman and one of a baby.
The baby is said to be the child of a man who preferred to
kill the baby and the mother to hide their
relationship.The fact
that the apparitions continue, even after the discover of
the bodies means than the two poor beings will never be able
to rest in peace.

Stirling Castle

The castle stands on volcanic rock overlooking the town of Stirling and
the countryside . Mary , Queen of Scots was crowned in the
old chapel in 1533 . The Pink Lady , a beautiful woman in a
pink silk gown , has been seen many times at the castle . It
may be Mary , Queen of Scots. Others say it is the ghost of
a woman searching for her husband who had been killed when
Edward I captured the castle .

Free Stirling Castle e-cards

More pictures of  Stirling Castle
Free Halloween greeting cards


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Dunnottar Castle pictures

Dunnottar Castle one, scotland
Dunnottar Castle one , Scotland

Dunnottar Castle could be called a hidden gem amongst the plethora of Scottish castles . It is not very well-known but it has a fascinating history including visits from William Wallace and Mary, Queen of Scots.The castle must have the most spectacular location in Scotland , sitting on a  rocky promontory on the east coast of Scotland just outside Stonehaven , about 15 miles from Aberdeen . The word impregnable was probably invented for this castle. It is surrounded on all sides by a sheer cliff . Entry is by a tunnel through the cliff . Once you actually reach the top the views are stunning. In the 12th Century Dunnottar Castle became a Catholic settlement with the first stone chapel being consecrated in 1276. According to “Blind Harry”, a 15th Century poet, whose epic poem was an inspiration for the 1996 film “Braveheart”, William Wallace set fire to this chapel with a garrison of English soldiers taking refuge inside. The current chapel was built in the 16th Century.Dunnottar Castle was home to one of the most powerful families in Scotland, the Earls Marischal, from the 14th century when Sir William Keith, the 1st Earl Marischal, built his Tower House, also known as the Keep.  The Earl Marischal was an office bestowed on the Keiths by James II. The role was one of the three great offices of State, along with the Constable and the Steward.  The Earl Marischal had specific responsibility for ceremonial events, the Honours of Scotland and for the safety of the King’s person within parliament. Consequently it was not unusual for the monarchy, including Mary Queen of Scots, to spend time and stay at Dunnottar.Nowadays you can get married in Dunnottar castle , although you do so at your own risk since there is no shelter in the castle buildings .

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Stirling Castle project reveals royal court life

Historic Scotland is currently engaged in a £12 million project to return the royal palace within the walls of Stirling Castle to how it might have been in the mid-16th century.New research has revealed the cosmopolitan character of the Renaissance Scottish court at Stirling Castle .

The palace will reopen to the public in 2011 as a new Scottish visitor experience. Freelance historian, John Harrison, has been investigating original documents .Mr Harrison’s source is The Bread Book, an account of who received loaves from the royal kitchens throughout 1549 when the palace was the main residence of Scotland’s queen mother, Mary de Guise , mother of Mary , Queen of Scots . Mary, Queen of Scots was born in nearby Linlithgow Palace and she was   only 9 months old when she was crowned Queen of Scotland in the Chapel Royal in Stirling Castle on September 9, 1543. On most days a loaf was granted to the Morys – or Moors – who Mr Harrison believes were probably either black Africans or Arabs originating from North Africa.

“This is a fascinating glimpse of the diversity of the royal court at Stirling in the mid-16th century. It was quite cosmopolitan at the time, with the French Mary de Guise at its head, and surrounded not just by Scots but by people from Spain, the Rhineland and what is now Belgium. There were a few English, but they were mostly prisoners. Just who the Moors were, and what they were doing, is difficult to say. They were quite low in the court hierarchy, but were part of the household and getting bread at royal expense.”
Hints have survived that there may have been Africans in Scotland even earlier. There is a poetic reference by Dunbar to a woman who has been assumed to be – ‘the Lady with the Meikle Lips’. Such references are mostly rather uncertain, and may have other explanations, and the importance of The Bread Book is its clarity at a time when record-keeping was still relatively thin. Just as fascinating is what The Bread Book adds to our understanding of the way the court was run, and who had access to the queen. The evidence suggests that rather than acting like many of the Tudor dynasty in England and taking her main meals in private, deep within the network of royal apartments, Mary de Guise would dine in the Queen’s Outer Hall.

“Quite a wide range of people had access to her, not ordinary farmers but lots of people who were fairly well-to-do, which is important as she was working hard to build and protect the interests of her young daughter – Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary de Guise was an intelligent, decisive woman and a smart operator.

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