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Marriage at Notre Dame
On Monday 16 April 2019, a terrible fire ravaged the Cathedral of Notre Dame destroying most of the roof and the steeple. This awful event touched the cultural history of the western world like nothing else of which we can think. The only good news is nobody appeared to have died as a result. It is our hope that over the next few years the cathedral will be rebuilt in a worthy restoration. As it stands, massive amounts of funding for this purpose have already been pledged.

Interestingly, the cathedral has a Scottish connection. Some 461 years ago, Francis de Valois, the eldest son of Henri II, King of France, and who was the Dauphin, married at age 14, Mary Queen of Scots, age 15. The marriage was celebrated in the Cathedral of Notre Dame on 24 April 1558. This was a dynastic union which had real future possibilities… A little over a year later Henri II died as a result of a jousting accident on 10 July 1559. So the Dauphin became Francis II, King of France and was crowned on 21 Sep 1559… But his health was, to say the least, fragile. Francis’ health deteriorated in 1560 with him collapsing in November followed by his death on 5 Dec 1560. Mary was devastated… Nine months later Mary Queen of Scots returned to Scotland to take up her life and reign there.

We have here an image of a period portrait of Francis and Mary done circa. 1558. The original is from Catherine de Medici’s Book of Hours in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

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