Initially, Mary appeared reluctant to return to Scotland – she did not come back until August 1561 – though her husband died in December 1560. This delay is said to have aided the Protestant cause in Scotland.
While in France, Mary had become increasingly concerned about the situation in Scotland. She was a Catholic and did not accept the decision of Parliament to abolish the celebration of mass.
A nation having a Queen of a different faith was a very unusual situation for this time.
The Pope, the French and Spanish all wanted Mary to restore Catholicism to Scotland. Generally speaking the expectation was that as a Catholic, Mary would try to restore the Catholic faith to her nation.
However on her return Mary did nothing to reverse the Reformation.
She did issue a proclamation ‘forbidding meantime any change in religion’.
She also looked for support from the moderate reformers including her half-brother Lord James Stewart who guaranteed her personal religion.
Catholics were disappointed in this approach and this led to some disagreement. However, in the early years of her reign Mary stood firm and showed that she would stand against Catholic citizens who opposed her.
The issue of religion was important to Mary, but linked to this were relations between Mary and the nobility. There were disputes between different families as to who would help Mary rule Scotland.
It was always difficult for Mary to assert her authority as she was a young woman, with a French background and this helped shape the views of nobles towards her.
An example of nobles trying to influence Mary was the Huntly Revolt: