April 24th 1558
The marriage of Mary, Queen of Scots and François, Dauphin of France
The doomed marriage of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots and François, Dauphin of France on the 24th of April 1558 at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The bride and groom had been raised together in France ever since the marriage was arraigned when he was just 4 and she was 5 and it was at this time that Mary was sent to France to live with her future husband’s family. Although the 14 year old groom was beloved by his parents Henry II and Catherine de’ Medici and his grandfather François I, he was a sickly, small for his age, timid and stammering whereas his 15 year old bride was tall for her age, full of confidence and good humour, in good health and stunningly beautiful. François absolutely adored his bride – Mary loved François as well but more like a brother rather than as a husband. Mary was fully aware that it was her destiny to marry the Dauphin and to one day become Queen of France and this was potentially dangerous – a strong willed and impulsive Queen who wanted nothing more than to be loved, for passion, romance, and adventure all paired with a less dynamic husband – much like the reign of a future Queen – Marie Antoinette and Louis XVII.
The wedding itself was a lavish affair needing months of preparations to make sure that every detail was absolutely perfect for the big day. All of Paris was expected to come out to celebrate with Lords and Ladies; Dukes and Duchesses; Counts and Countesses; and of course with the Royal couple themselves – they were to line the route leading from the Palais de Louvre to Notre Dame. Mary wore a magnificent gown of white and was covered in pearls and precious stones. The white gown was chosen not only to emphasize her pale redheaded beauty but also her virginity – it was an unusual choice at the time as white was worn while in mourning. Even though the wedding was a beautiful affair, the marriage would be short lived – François died two years later in 1560.