Sir William Maitland of Lethington

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Sir William Maitland of Lethington's Geni Profile

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William Maitland (Maitland of Lethington)

Birthdate: (48)
Death: June 9, 1573 (48)
Took poison following the fall of Edinburgh Castle held for Mary Queen of Scots
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir Richard Maitland, Lord Lethington and Lady Mary Cranston
Husband of Mary Fleming
Father of James Maitland and Margaret Maitland
Brother of Isabel Maitland; Helen Maitland; Thomas Maitland; Sir John Maitland, 1st Lord of Thirlestane; Margaret Maitland and 2 others

Managed by: Private User
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About Sir William Maitland of Lethington

Sir William Maitland of Lethington (1525 – June 9, 1573) was a Scottish politician and reformer, and the eldest son of the poet Richard Maitland.

William was the renowned 'Secretary Lethington' to Mary I of Scotland. As Secretary of State, he played a prominent part in the various movements of his time, but gained the confidence of no party. He adhered to the party of James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray, illegitimate half-brother of the Queen, against the extreme measures of John Knox

Maitland proved a highly astute ambassador at the Court of Elizabeth I of England. He was involved in the conspiracy to murder David Rizzio, private secretary and rumoured lover of Queen Mary, by her King consort Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley and his supporters. However, he managed to regain the Queen's favour.

When Mary fled to the Kingdom of England in 1567, Maitland joined with the new government, but acted in her interest and formed a party to restore her to power. In 1573 Sir William Kirkaldy of Grange, noted for his military talents and the forthright adherent of Mary Queen of Scots, held Edinburgh Castle for her party, along with his brother, Sir James, and Sir William Maitland of Lethington. The Regent called on the military assistance of Queen Elizabeth I of England, who despatched Sir William Drury from Berwick-upon-Tweed with a formidable train of artillery to assist in reducing the castle. Kirkaldy resisted with firmness worthy of his high military reputation, until his walls were breached and shattered, his provisions expended, the wells choked with ruins and inaccessible, and the artillery silenced. He surrendered to Sir William Drury on a general promise of favourable terms; but in this, the English commander had undertaken more than he could make good. By Elizabeth's orders, Sir William Drury saw himself obliged to surrender his prisoners to the vindictive Regent, and the gallant Kirkaldy and his brother were executed at the Market Cross in Edinburgh. Maitland of Lethington, already ill, was removed to Leith prison, where he either died from his disease or, according to some accounts, killed himself.

Maitland married Mary Fleming, one of the "Four Maries" who accompanied Mary Queen of Scots to France in 1548 as her principal attendants. The Great Seal (charter number 1519, confirmed at Holyroodhouse on 8 April 1588), gives James Maitland of Lethington (b.1568) as "son and heir of William Maitland of Lethington, Royal Secretary". William Maitland's daughter, Margaret, married Robert Ker, 1st Earl of Roxburghe

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Sir William Maitland of Lethington's Timeline

Age 43
June 9, 1573
Age 48
Took poison following the fall of Edinburgh Castle held for Mary Queen of Scots