School of Divinity

Friendship with William Maitland of Lethington

Kate enjoyed an particularly close relationship with Maitland, Secretary to Mary, Queen of Scots.

A lifelong relationship

Eight letters survive from William Maitland of Lethington to Kate though unfortunately there are none the other way (GD112/39/5/15; 6/10 & 11 & 19; 7/15; 9/4 & 8 & 14).

They indicate a deep friendship and affection and display an unusual degree of informality and closeness, especially between a man and woman each married to someone else.

Probably acquainted since childhood, Maitland and Kate were more likely to have been good friends than secret lovers. Maitland's protracted courting and final marriage to Mary Fleming, one of the Queen's 4 Maries, was celebrated as a great love-match at the royal court.

Because they enjoyed each others company, Maitland made a point of visiting Kate at Balloch Castle. Although Maitland was friendly with Grey Colin, it was to Kate he chose to address all his promises of support.

As he himself admitted, she knew the power she had over him and the only reason he might fail to support her would be if she neglected to tell him what was required.

'I beleive ze knaw quhat puissance ze haiff owyr me and giff ony thing be negleckit on my part zat ze wald haiff me doand it fallit rathar in zour defalt yat puttis me nocht to charge nor it nayer yat salbe willing to obey as ze will command.'
Maitland to Kate17 June 1570 GD112/39/7/15