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Activity / challenge

Junior Warden Challenge 1: Mary, Queen of Scots

Illustration of Palace of Holyroodhhouse wardens


Hello! We’re Holly and Rudy. 


We work at the Palace of Holyroodhouse – it’s a pretty amazing place!

The Palace is The Queen’s official home in Scotland and members of the Royal Family stay here throughout the year.

It has also been home to lots of historic royal figures including Mary, Queen of Scots, Bonnie Prince Charlie and Queen Victoria.

We are Palace Wardens. Our job is to share stories with visitors and help guard the Palace treasures.

We’d like you to take part in our Junior Warden Challenge!

There’s a lot to uncover – nearly 900 years of amazing history. Let's get started with a game. Click below to begin.

Palace of Holyroodhouse Interactive


For our first challenge we are going to have a look at the story of Mary, Queen of Scots. 

Her life was full of drama.  Here are some facts about her life: 

Mary became Queen of Scotland when she was just 6 days old after her father, James V, died.

She was the first woman to rule Scotland in her own right.

She married three times.

Mary witnessed a murder at the Palace.

She accused of treason by her cousin, Elizabeth I, and executed after 19 years in prison.

When Mary was five, her French mother sent her to live in France to escape fighting between Scotland and England. She married a French prince and eventually became Queen of France too.

King Francis died suddenly so Mary came home to Scotland and moved into the Palace of Holyroodhouse when she was 18. 

Illustration of Palace warden

Rudy ©

Mary settled back in to life in Scotland but things started to go wrong when she married her second husband, Lord Darnley. 

He was jealous and greedy and treated Mary badly. He didn't trust her favourite servant, David Rizzio, and plotted his murder in 1566.

Less than a year later Darnley was murdered himself! If this wasn't dramatic enough, Mary went on to marry the prime suspect soon after!

Before long, there was revolt in Scotland and Mary fled to England to get help from her cousin Queen Elizabeth I. However, Elizabeth was suspicious and believed Mary was plotting to take over the English throne.

She had Mary imprisoned for 19 years, before ordering her execution in 1587.

We told you it was a dramatic story!

Challenge 1: Guess the mystery object

Photograph of rush matting


Each challenge we are going to show you a mystery object linked to the person we've been learning out about. Can you work out what it is?


I am made from dried rushes (a bit like tough grass)

I am strong and can be walked over

I helped make the Palace feel warm

Lavender was sometimes sprinkled on me to make the rooms smell nice

What am I?


Find out if you were right on the next challenge!

​Challenge 2: Complete one of the activities below

Make a ruff

Decode Mary's letter

Illustration of Palace warden



In the next challenge we are going 900 years back in time. 


Join us then for another story and more challenges!


If this is the last challenge that you have wanted to complete ask your teacher, parent or carer to email us at [email protected] and we will send you your Junior Warden Challenge certificate!