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Who were the 4 Marie's
Here are some items that might interest you from the July Scottish Banner:
1) The 70 inhabitants of Fair (Fer) Island between Orkney and Shetland have
received a 70,000 lb fire engine (strange that it is listed in pound weight.
Could it have originally have been pounds as in currency?) They will use it
to put out croft fires. Fer/Fair Island is where Prince Henry Sinclair met
up with the Zenos in 1390.
2) Scientists searching for pure blooded Scots in order to study the high
rate of heart disease in Scots. Watch that cholesterol people!!
3) Two articles discussing the "Scottish language"
4) Prince Charlie had a double, Roderick MacKenzie, who deliberately threw
off the soldiers searching for the Prince.
6) Article by our own Virginia Commissioner, Susan M. Grady about Fidel
Castro's parents from Galicia, Spain, a Celtic region of Spain.
7) The retelling of the ghoulish murder of the 11th Earl of Sutherland and
his wife committed by his aunt Isobel Sinclair with the help of the 4th Earl
(George) of Caithness.
8) A very long article on the 4 Marys/Maries by Nigel Tranter, associated
with Mary Queen of Scots was quite interesting in view of our discussion not
too long ago.
There are several versions of the song that mentions the 4 Marys.
"Yestreen the Queen had four Maries,
The nicht she'll hae but three:
There was Marie Seton, and Marie Beaton,
And Marie Carmichael and me."
It is, however, documented that the 4 Maries/Marys going to and returning
from France were Beaton, Seton, Fleming, and Livingstone.
Mary Carmichael is not listed in any history as one of the Queen's Maries
but there could have been a replacement made when one of the above listed 4
left the Queen. There was a Mary Carmichael the sister of Sir John
Carmichael that might have been at the court from time to time so she had
the opportunity to serve the Queen, yet no record can be found about it.
Note: Before the time of Queen Mary of Scots the term of Marie was given
to maids of honor (Jamieson's Dictionary of the Scottish Language-Icelandic
maer, or maid) A quote from the King of France calling the maids of the
wife of James V "Maries". Mary means willing to serve--going back to the 4
Marys that ministered to Our Lord. That might be the reason that Queen
Mary might have deliberately kept the number at 4 Mary's ministering to
There is much more information about trying to date the verses and some of
the political intrigue and religious censure on court practices.
But then there is a verse referring to the "auld Queen" (Mary was quite
a young queen) who finds out that a Marie has had an illegitimate child by
her husband. Then another verse indicates that Marie's parents were in
another country. And another line that refers to Marie being far from home
at the time of her death.
This gives rise to a theory that the Scottish ballad had been blended
with the tale of Mary Hamilton who was the lady-in-waiting for the not young
in 1718 Empress Catherine of Russia, the second wife of Peter the Great.
"One of Peter's friends, Minister of State Matvieif, had married the
daughter of a Scots merchant in Moscow called Hamilton, after which that
family were incorporated in to the Russian aristocracy." Peter chose the
Queen's ladies who were all beauties.
This Mary had an affair and child with an officer of the guard which
The child was possibly murdered by Mary. She was tortured into telling about
its death plus 2 others. (remember how Peter tortured his own son to
death) So Peter sentenced her to death on Nov. 27, 1718.
These verses seem to support this idea even though they blend in the name of
Edinburgh instead of Moscow.
"O Marie, Put on your robes o'black,
Or else your robes o' brown;
For ye maun going wi' me, the night,
To see fair Edinbro toun,
I winna put on my robes o' black,
Nor yet my robes o' brown,But I'll put on my robes o[' white,
To shure through Edinbro toun."
This refers to the fact to Mary Hamilton reportedly wore a white silk dress
to the trial to remind Peter of his admiration for her and this particular
He gave the command for her death, picked up her head and kissed the still
quivering lips then delivered a speech on anatomy, then flung the head down.
By blending this story of a murderess in Queen Mary's court, the idea of
corruption at court is enhanced.
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