Segments in this Video

Biography in Stone (02:37)


The Scottish palace known as the Holyrood House is situated beside Salisbury crags and an extinct volcano, near the Edinburgh palace. Its history is that of Scotland itself.

Turbulent From the Cradle (03:02)

The Holyrood House was initially just a guesthouse attached to an abbey that still lies beside the palace, but over time it evolved into its palace form. Mary, Queen of Scots, began the evolution, the daughter of Mary of Guise and King James V of Scotland, the latter of which died shortly after Mary's birth.

Brave and Intrepid Heroine (03:58)

Henry VIII wanted to acquire Scotland and was notoriously brutish in his foreign relations. He intended to marry off his son to baby Mary, Queen of Scots, but Mary of Guise did not share the wish so she sent five-year-old Mary to France in 1548, to marry the heir to the French throne ten years later. Unfortunately, he died three years after their marriage, and Mary had to return to Scotland.

Come Home (02:25)

Edinburgh celebrated when 18-year-old Mary returned to rule in Scotland. Holyrood House was the most comfortable living quarters in Scotland, and though Mary had likely felt she was destined to become the Queen of France, Scotland may have held a certain homelike charm for her.

Work and Play (02:04)

Historian Michael Fry describes the way English people viewed the royal practices in Scotland. Mary endeavored to make the court at Holyrood fancier. Mary had game shipped into Scotland so she could hunt.

Disastrous Choice (03:14)

Because she was royal and required to provide an heir, Mary had to remarry, so she chose her cousin, Lord Darnley, who Fry calls an "aristocratic thug," a handsome lover of sex and fighting. In July 1565, they were married and she was pregnant shortly after. In 1566, Darnley and his co-conspirators murdered Mary's secretary David Rizzio whom he wrongfully suspected was in a romantic relationship with his pregnant wife.

Grandmother's Fervent Desire (03:08)

After the murder of Rizzio, Mary left the castle and gave birth to her son, James, and Darnley was found murdered not long after. Mary was forced to abdicate by the Scottish nobles, and her one-year-old son, James, was proclaimed king.

Prisoner in Protestant Kingdom (03:06)

Mary fled to England and looked for mercy from Queen Elizabeth, who actually was not on her side and ordered her to be locked up. Mary, Queen of Scots plotted to kill Queen Elizabeth, but failed, and Mary, Queen of Scots was put to death.

Holyrood's Renaissance (03:40)

James VI of Scotland, Mary's son, became James I of England, as well, a triumph for the Stuart dynasty, but it led to civil war and James' son Charles was executed. In 1651, Holyrood House was damaged by fire and Scotland fell into despair during the war, but Charles II began reparations by bringing Holyrood House up to then modern standards, declaring the king's security and perhaps implying that he wanted Scotland and England to have closer ties.

Belong to a King (03:08)

Under the direction of Charles II, the palace was renovated with a staircase of cutting edge technology and plaster work done by the best English plasterers. Fashionable artwork, including French tapestries, decorated the walls.

Finest Collections (02:22)

The tapestries of Holyrood House require special care. Textile conservator Margaret Maran has been conserving an ancient tapestry for over a year.

Celebration of Regal History (02:12)

The great gallery of Holyrood House was commissioned from Jacob de Wet by Charles II and meant to represent every Scottish ruler from the beginning of time. Due to religious conflict, the Stuart dynasty lost hold of both the English and Scottish throne, but later, Stuart descendant Bonnie Prince Charlie returned.

West Highlands (03:42)

In the Highlands, Bonnie Prince Charlie attempted to rouse the nationalism of the Scottish people in 1745 and reclaim the throne from the unpopular German king. He wrote to Highland chiefs, asking them to meet him, looking for support to forcibly take the throne back.

Final Confrontation (04:28)

Charles and his supporters took Edinburgh in 1745 and made their way to Holyrood House where Charles made his headquarters. He summoned more troops to take arms, but he left six weeks later and never returned. At Culloden, the Bonnie Prince Charlie lost a battle and the war.

Blood Soaked Massacre (03:41)

After Charles' army was defeated at Culloden, the victorious government troops went on to kill the men, women, and children who were not involved, but just so happened to be living nearby. Following the battle, Highlanders were forbidden to wear their characteristic and traditional tartan for almost 60 years.

Status Symbol (04:11)

In 1848, Victoria became queen, and she was fond of Holyrood House, insisting that the apartment Mary, Queen of Scots, had lived in be left untouched. Rufus Bird of the Royal Collection shows off the Flemish cabinet that was rumored to have belonged to Mary, Queen of Scots.

Credits: Holyrood House: The Queen's Palaces (00:33)

Credits: Holyrood House: The Queen's Palaces

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Holyrood House: The Queen's Palaces

Part of the Series : The Queen's Palaces
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $300.00
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $450.00
3-Year Streaming Price: $300.00



It is one of Britain's smallest palaces and yet events at Holyrood have determined the fate of three countries— England, France and Scotland. It was also the last place where a royal prince challenged the right of an English king to sit on the throne. Fiona Bruce discovers remarkable objects from the Royal Collection that are intimately bound to the Palace's turbulent history— from the spectacular Darnley Jewel with its many hidden messages to the cat-and-mouse needlework of a doomed queen.

Length: 52 minutes

Item#: BVL124978

ISBN: 978-1-63521-920-3

Copyright date: ©2011

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.