The death of James V in 1542, only days after the birth of his daughter Mary Stuart, led to questions over who was to run the country for the young Queen.
Her mother, Mary of Guise, was thought to be unsuitable as she was female and French.
The Earl of Arran, leader of the powerful Hamilton family, was Mary’s nearest legitimate relative. If the young Queen died, he would become King of Scots. He ruled as Regent (someone who would rule on a temporary basis) until 1554.
Rival groups of Scottish nobles wanted to run the country and the Kings of England and France supported different factions in a bid to gain influence.
Henry VIII wanted to replace the Queen’s Regent with someone who would support the marriage of the young Mary to his son Prince Edward.
In order to support his aim, Henry persuaded the Earl of Angus and some other Scottish nobles to encourage Protestantism. He also bribed some of the nobles.
Despite this, he failed, and it was the pro-French faction, led by Cardinal Beaton, which eventually seized control.