LIKE many others this year, I and my family had to cancel our family holiday abroad so instead I toured Scotland. I had forgotten how peaceful the East Neuk fishing villages and harbours are, how beautiful the countryside, the lochs, the rivers and how majestic our Scottish mountain scenery.

I visited Fort William, climbed the lower paths of Ben Nevis and drank the pure water flowing down in streams from the waterfalls on the highest mountain in Britain. Then went to Bannockburn, with its imposing statue of Robert the Bruce, and read the words of his freedom ideology on the plinth. I travelled to the Wallace Monument in Stirling and stood in awe at the size of “Braveheart” William Wallace’s sword. And the Kelpies ... unbelievable.

My last visit was to Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots. In 2015 an imposing statue of the Scottish Queen was erected in the gardens. Why is she still interred in Westminster Abbey? Mary was a devout Catholic, and worse still she is buried in close proximity to Elizabeth I who, for whatever reason, ordered Mary to be executed! Would you rest in peace for all eternity, yards feet or inches from the person who ordered your death? When Mary’s son, James VI, a Protestant, also became James I of England, he had her interred in Westminster Abbey and erected a tomb with a recumbent effigy in white marble. I believe Mary expressed the desire to be buried in France, but as the French executed their own king, I doubt they would want her now.

I think that it is time for Mary Queen of Scots, to be returned home to Scotland, the land of her birth and interred (with the Palace’s permission) in the grounds of Linlithgow Palace.

I hesitated to write this letter to The National in the present circumstances when we are all living in strange times with this virus. But when a vaccine is developed and we once again enjoy our “freedom” and return to a more normal way of life, the re-interment of the body of Mary, Queen of Scots, would give us something to focus on. It would be a wonderful memorial to her for future generations of Scottish people and for future visitors to Scotland from Britain and abroad. Does anyone else feel the way I do?

Alias Jessie Ritchie
Newton Mearns