MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS (1542-1587). Document signed ('Marie'), as Queen of Scots and Dowager of France, Fontainebleau, 23 February 1560/1561.
Certifying her annual accounts for the previous year from 1 January to 31 December, to the sum of 44,828 livres, 13 sols and 9 deniers, which sum is to be allocated to her treasurer Jacques Girard, and instructing her secretary, Claude le Parcheminier, and her contrôleur général, Luc Provenchere, to sign off the expense. In French on vellum, on the verso of a leaf, 345 x 285mm, extracted from the original account book (which according to Mary's statement contained 97 leaves), the recto and upper margin of the leaf containing the conclusion of the accounts and the signatures of le Parcheminier and Provenchere (Seal slits at lower margin with trace of red sealing wax, a little soiled and creased). [With] an engraved portrait by Henderik Verbruggen. Provenance: Augustin-Pierre Dubrunfaut (1797-1881) -- his sale, Charavay, 2 April 1887, lot 120.
The document dates from a turning-point in Mary's life. She had married the Dauphin of France on 24 April 1558, and on the death of Queen Mary of England in the following November had become -- in the eyes of some Catholic legitimists -- the rightful heir to the English throne; with the death of Henri II on 10 July 1559 she became queen consort of France, but the year covered by these accounts had seen the deaths of both her mother, Mary of Guise, Regent of Scotland (whom she had not seen since she was eight), on 11 June, and her husband, François II, on 5 December. In the meantime, under the Treaty of Edinburgh (6 July), French occupying forces had been obliged to quit a now-reformed Scotland, with power residing in the hands of a group of powerful Protestant noblemen. In January 1561 her Guise uncles attempted to arrange a match for Mary with Don Carlos, the eldest son of Philip II of Spain, but this was blocked by Catherine de' Medici in April. The subsequent months were consequently filled with negotiations for Mary's return to Scotland, which took place on 19 August 1561. She was 18 years old, and had not seen her native country since her departure as a 5-year old in August 1548.