When driving through Scotland, there are castles every few minutes; many are in ruins, many are not, some have been highly associated with Scottish Royalty. So when choosing which castles to look at in detail, we chose those which were of most significance to Scottish royalty: Edinburgh Castle, Scone Palace, and Stirling Castle.
With more time it would have been wonderful to investigate Holyrood Palace and Linlithgow Palace, both steeped in Scottish Royal history and residence. Mary Queen of Scots was born at Linlithgow, and had residential apartments at Holyrood. Scottish kings moved to England in 1603, ending most Royal residence (although QE11 stays at Holyrood when in Edinburgh). Bonnie Prince Charlie, the young Pretender, was in residence at Holyrood for 5 weeks in 1745, and visited Linlithgow briefly, (the Duke of Cumberland destroyed much of it a year later for its Stuart and Jacobite associations), and Prince Charlie unsuccessfully tried to regain Stirling Castle in 1745.
The heyday for Stirling Castle was when it was a Palace, with great expensive embellishments and restorations by James V, initially for his first wife, Madeleine (French), who died only six months after marriage from consumption; then, for his second wife, Mary de Guise.
“he plenished the country with all kind of craftsmen out of other countries, as French-men, Spaniards, Dutch men, and Englishmen, which were all cunning craftsmen, every man for his own hand. Some were gunners, wrights, carvers, painters, masons, smiths, harness-makers (armourers), tapesters, broudsters, taylors, cunning chirugeons, apothecaries, with all other kind of craftsmen to apparel his palaces.”
The interiors are every impressive.
Poor James, having lost his first wife to illness, then lost his first two children with Mary, sons, 1 year old and 8 days old (dying 10 days apart), to illness. He then died of illness while away at battle, when his next born, Mary Queen of Scots was born.
Inspite of being French, Mary de Guise was well regarded by many Scots; she was regent on behalf of her daughter, from 1556-1560 when she died. She tried to keep her daughterr protected, and protect the countries’ Catholicism and Regency for her daughter.
The Castle also houses the Museum of the Argyll and Southerland Highlanders, deeply moving following the history of the regiment through to today.