Vanessa Redgrave and Glenda Jackson star in this historical drama portraying the life of Mary Stuart. Mary (Redgrave), named Queen of Scotland when she is only days old, is married off to the sickly Francis of France (Richard Denning) at the age of 17. Following his death she returns to a Scotland dominated by Protestantism and regented by her brother James (Patrick McGoohan), before making two more unfortunate marriages, first to the foppish Lord Darnley (Timothy Dalton) and then to Lord Bothwell (Nigel Davenport). Following an uprising against her she escapes to England to seek the protection of her cousin, the 'Virgin Queen' Elizabeth I (Jackson) - who promptly orders her imprisonment, perceiving her a threat to her throne. After a long period of custody in England, Mary is tried and executed for treason.