Plans unveiled for an event fit for a queen

The event will commemorate one of the most traumatic episodes in Mary's life
The event will commemorate one of the most traumatic episodes in Mary's life

Plans have been unveiled for an annual festival inspired by Mary, Queen of Scots aimed at attracting thousands of visitors to Kinross-shire.

The festival promises to transport people back to the court of the iconic queen, who was imprisoned for a year at Loch Leven Castle.

It’s being run by event organiser Thomas Moffat in collaboration with the Clanranald Trust, a cultural heritage group which stages historical events and re-enactments, including last year’s Battle of Bannockburn celebrations.

And it’s hoped to become a major new attraction for the area, which has lost the T in the Park music festival this summer after 18 years.

The festival will pay tribute to the tumultuous life the queen led before being executed on the orders of her cousin Elizabeth, the English queen she was accused of trying to overthrow.

Up to 40 costumed characters will take over the town of Kinross over a weekend in September to depict what life was like in the court of Mary, who ruled for just six years in Scotland, from 1561 to 1567.

Live music; a food and drink showcase; displays with horses and falconry, and a recreation of a 16th century encampment are lined up for the event, staged this year in an arena in the Market Square in Kinross.

Plans have already been drawn up for a second, larger-scale event in 2016, which will be held in the Kirkgate Park, on the shores of Loch Leven, with its castle accessible only by boat.

Mary was imprisoned in the castle and forced to abdicate in favour of her one-year-old son after failing to quash a rebellion of Scottish peers.

She escaped and fled to England, where she would face 19 years of captivity, before a secret plot to topple Elizabeth was uncovered.

“The people of Mary’s court will be going about their business, dressed in the clothing of their time, showing off their skills and immersing the visitors in their work and day-to-day lives,” said Mr Moffat.

“Mary, Queen of Scots, herself, will be there, holding court, dressed in her finery, going about her royal business and enduring her captivity in style.

“Everywhere that you wander there will be characters in historical costume ready to talk about their lives. Find out all about cleanliness and godliness at a time when hygiene and religion were approached with very different attitudes to the ones we have today.

“The festival will have its very own royal encampment filled with the sounds and scents, the hustle and bustle of the time with the Queen, herself, in attendance. It will be impossible for the visitors not to be instilled with a sense of enthusiasm and excitement for the time of Mary, Queen of Scots.”