The Cradle King: The Life of James VI and I, the First Monarch of a United Great Britain
As the son of Mary Queen of Scots, born into her 'bloody nest,' James had the most precarious of childhoods. Even before his birth, his life was threatened: it was rumored that his father, Henry, had tried to make the pregnant Mary miscarraige by forcing her to witness the assasination of her supposed lover, David Riccio. By the time James was a one-year-old, Henry was murdered, possibly with the connivance of his mother, Mary was in exile in England and he was King of Scotland. By the age of five, he had experienced three different regents as the ancient dynasties of Scotland battled for power and made him a virtual prisoner in Stirling Castle. In fact, James did not set foot outside the confines of Stirling until he was eleven, when he took control of the country. But even with power in his hands, he would never feel safe. For the rest of his life, he could be caught up in bitter struggles between the warring political and religious factions who fought for control over his mind and body.