Edinburgh and the Lothians Sights

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Borthwick Castle

Borthwick Castle Review

Set in green countryside with scattered woods and lush hedgerows, the village of Borthwick is dominated by Borthwick Castle, which dates from the 15th century and is still occupied. Mary, Queen of Scots, came to this stark, tall, twin-towered fortress on a kind of honeymoon with her ill-starred third husband, the Earl of Bothwell. Their already-dubious bliss was interrupted by Mary's political opponents, often referred to as the Lords of the Congregation, a confederacy of powerful nobles who favored the crowning of her young son, James. Rather insensitively, they laid siege to the castle while the newlyweds were there. Mary subsequently escaped disguised as a man. She was not free for long, however. It was only a short time before she was defeated in battle and imprisoned. She languished in prison for 21 years before Queen Elizabeth I of England (1558–1603) signed her death warrant in 1587. Bothwell's fate was equally gloomy: he died insane in a Danish prison. The castle now functions as a hotel, but it's well worth a look around.

Updated: 10-11-2013

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