Even While Imprisoned Mary, Queen Of Scots Ate Like Royalty

It's fairly well-known that Mary, Queen of Scots was imprisoned for a whopping 19 years prior to her execution (via History). One thing we don't know much about, however, is what she ate during that time. Well, not until recently, anyway! 

It's important to point out that, while the Queen of Scots spent almost half of her life as a prisoner, her imprisonment was definitely on the cushy side. As noted by English Heritage, the queen spent the majority of her incarceration under house arrest, with a number of luxuries most could only dream of, outside of prison. According to the outlet, she was treated more like a welcome visitor than an inmate in the homes (read: palatial estates) of her warden, the Earl of Shrewsbury. In fact, when it came to restrictions against her, unsupervised horse riding was one of the only caveats to her freedom. 

With all that in mind, it only makes sense that the Catholic queen's diet wasn't what one would normally expect from prison fare. In fact, as a curator from The British Library told The Guardian's Observer, the best way to describe her time away would be "deluxe imprisonment," and that extended to her meals. 

Mutton and salmon and boar, oh my!

Mary, Queen of Scots may have been a prisoner, but when it came to her mealtimes, she feasted like the royal she was. 

According to accounting documents obtained by The British Library and published by The Guardian's Observer, Mary Stuart regularly tucked into things like mutton, salmon, and boar, among other delicacies. Naturally, all were meticulously seasoned with the best spices. It's worth noting that particularly when it came to the fish she was served, the captive queen was in an elite group of those who could eat it. Per The Atlantic, sea fish, in particular, was the mainstay of monarchs during the Middle Ages. 

Once all of that had been polished off, she was never left wanting for desserts, either, with biscuits and fruits in an abundant supply. Said biscuits contained caraway seeds, which, according to St Neots Museum, was a favorite ingredient during the middle ages ... among those who could afford it. 

To top it all off (in the most literal sense of the word, mind), Mary, Queen of Scots also sat down for her meals under her baldachin. Also known as a canopy of state, these were reserved for über-elites and denoted high status. So yes, Mary, Queen of Scots spent most of her life as a prisoner, but when she sat down for a meal under her canopy, she was probably able to forget that for a bit.