Mary Beaton

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Mary Beaton (1543–1598) was a Scottish noblewoman and an attendant of Mary, Queen of Scots.


Mary was born in 1543, the third of five children of Robert Beaton, 4th Laird of Criech and Joanna Renwall. Mary's mother was one of Marie de Guise's ladies-in-waiting. Her aunt, Janet Beaton was a mistress of James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, who would in 1567, become the third husband of Queen Mary.[1]

In 1548, at the age of five, Mary Beaton was chosen by Marie de Guise to accompany her daughter Mary, Queen of Scots, to France. She, along with three other girls who also accompanied the Queen, became known as the "Four Marys."


Mary, described as having been pretty and plump, with fair hair and dark eyes, attracted the attentions of an older man, Thomas Randolph. At the time of the courtship, in 1564, Randolph was 45 and Mary was 21. Randolph was Queen Elizabeth's English Ambassador to the Scottish court, and wanted Mary Beaton to spy on her mistress for him, which she refused to do. Mary Beaton eventually married Alexander Ogilvy of Boyne in April 1566, having one son, James, born in 1568. Little else is known of her life.

After the execution of Queen Mary, it was claimed by the writer Adam Blackwood in 1587 that Mary Beaton's handwriting was similar to the Queen's and so some of her private letters might have formed the basis for the casket letters produced to incriminate Queen Mary.[2]

She died in 1598 at the age of 55.



  1. ^ Antonia Fraser, Mary, Queen of Scots, p.303
  2. ^ Blackwood, Adam, History of Mary Queen of Scots, Maitland Club (1834), p.82.