History of Golf
Mary Stuart Queen of Scots
Mary at 13 years of age
Born 8 December, 1542; Died 8 February, 1587
Few individuals in human history have been born
to such a privileged position and had such a promising beginning
in life only to have their lives come to such a tragic end
as did Mary Queen of Scots.
Mary was born to Scottish Royalty with family
ties through her mother to the most powerful families in France,The
House Of Guise, and through her first marriage to the Dauphin to
one of the most powerful families in Italy, the House of Medici.
The Dauphin's mother being Catherine
Medici and his grandfather being Lorenzo the Magnificent of the
House of Medici the patrons of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci
and the wealthiest family in Italy.
The story of Mary and the drama of her life
developed primarily because she had direct ties to the English Throne
through her ancestry. Margaret Tudor, sister to King Henry VIII,
had married James IV, the King of Scotland, and had birthed
their son James V. James V married Mary of Guise, and Mary Queen
of Scots was born into this union in 1542. Her father James V of
Scotland died within a week of Mary's birth which made her the Queen
of Scotland. Subsequently her mother ruled as regent while Mary
was sent to France for her formal education.
While in France Mary played golf as one of her
favorite activities helping spread the early popularity of the game.
Mary was raised in the French Court
which was a Catholic institution and her first husband Francis II
was the Dauphin or heir to the throne of France. At the age
of 15 she was married to Francis II, the son of Henri II of France
and Catherine Medici. The couple had been playmates while
growing up together in the French Court. This union lasted
only two years ending with the death of Francis when Mary was age
Upon the death of her first Husband she no longer
had a claim to be the Queen of France. The French court became politically
dominated by her mother in law Catherine. Instead of staying in
France and dealing with unfavorable political circumstances upon
the death of Mary's mother she chose instead to return to Scotland
in 1560 and claim the rule of Scotland as her rightful inheritance.
This decision to a large degree marked the beginning of her personal
misfortunes that ultimately lead to her captivity in England and
her eventual execution.
A romanticized version of Mary Queen of Scots
playing golf with Lord Darnley on the Scottish Links
During the 16th century the game of golf became
firmly established on the east coast of Scotland and began to spread
further abroad. Mary Queen of Scots, was a notable player. So keen
was her interest in the game she fell foul of the Church for playing
golf only a few days after the murder of her second husband, Lord
Darnley, rather than demonstrating a proper amount of time in mourning
following his murder and death.
Mary's son by lord Darnley, King James VI
of Scotland (James I of England) became a convert to the game before
he acceded to the English throne as James I in 1603.
The drama that lead to the death of her second
husband was one of intrigue having to do with the rightful accession
to the throne of Scotland and Mary came under suspicion of having
planned and executed the plot to murder Lord Darnley with James
Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell the man she married within months
of his death.
Her third marriage put her in conflict with other
Scottish Nobles and she came under suspicion of having taken steps
to murder Lord Darnley. She was asked to abdicate the Scottish throne
to her son James the VI of Scotland and later James 1st of England.
Seeking asylum from her problems in England lead to 18 years of
house arrest by Elizabeth I of England.
In England Mary was ultimately accused and tried
for treasonous activities against the throne of England and beheaded
on Feb. 8th 1587
Her execution caused an absolute outrage throughout
Catholic Europe. The invasion of the Spanish Armada in 1588
by Philip II of Spain was motivated partially to avenge her
death and the military goal of the Armada was to depose Elizabeth
I and return the throne of England to the Catholic Church, however
the Armada failed in its mission.
It is important to note that the plan to launch
the Spanish Armada may have in fact have been partially influenced
by Catherine of France, Mary's mother in law by her first marriage
to Francis II of France. Catherine's daughter was married to Phillip
II of Spain at the time the invasion was launched.
Elizabeth had handled the suspicion of Mary intrigues
against the throne with great restraint and had signed but had withheld
the death warrant against her only to have several of her lords
execute the warrant without her permission. However following the
Spanish invasion attempt, the Catholic Church's claim to the throne
of England was to be dealt with much more severity by the authorities
of the English Crown and the Anglican Church. The political environment
created by this policy of the English Crown lead directly to the
protestant reformation in England.
Elizabeth I portrait dating 1585
1585 Portrait of Mary during her captivity
by Francois Clouet
Perhaps the most famous image of Mary, it was painted
during her imprisonment in England. This image was copied frequently
during the reign of her son King James I of England and patron of
the King James Version of the Bible.
Sculpture by Chester Comstock dated 1986
Mary Queen of Scots contemplating a Golf ball as if it were a globe.
Trophy Proposed for the International at Castle Pines Golf
In conclusion the game of golf was
developed in Scotland in the early 16th Century and had its advocates
in the Royal family of Scotland. It had been introduced to France
along with the entourage that went with Mary Queen of Scots to the
French court. This event marked the beginning of the spread of golf
to its current global status as a sport.
About the Art
The above sculpture was created and
submitted by Chester Comstock to the selection committee as
a conceptual for the first place trophy for the International, a
PGA tour event held at Castle Pines Golf Club in Castle Rock Colorado.
The sculpture was designed to convey the concept
of the expansion of golf from its earliest origins in Scotland,
to its truly International Status as a gentleman's sport. The 16th
Century into which Mary was was the beginning of the Age of Discovery
and the first century of the Globalization of trade.
During Mary's interment in England Sir Francis
Drake became the second man to circumnavigation of the Globe in
a three year journey from December 1977 to september 1980. This
trip was the the first for England. This was an event that Mary
surely had news of and which sparked global ambitions for the rulers
The sculpture shows Mary contemplating a golf
ball as if it were a globe, artistically suggesting her inner desire
for the expansion of her personal dominion, the promise of which
plunged her into direct political conflict with her cousin Queen
Elizabeth I of England.
Although Mary's political aspirations lead directly
to the turmoil which ultimately endangered her life, her promotion
of and favor for the game of golf is now truly shared Internationally.
For additional historical background on 16 and 17 the century Globalization
of trade visit these pages:
The life and times of St. Francis Xavier,
1512- 1552 Page: 1
Xavier meets Otomo Sorin the King of Bungo,1550
William Adams arrives in Japan, 1600 Page:
The Epic Journey of Hasekura Tsunenaga,
1613-1620 Page: 4
James I king of England (1603-1625) and his personal correspondence
with Tokugawa Ieyasu Shogun of Japan ( 1600-1616)
For information about the art Call: (303) 657 9778
or E-mail: email@example.com