When Mary Queen of Scots left Scotland for France in 1547, having been betrothed to the Dauphin, Francis, heir to the French throne, she was accompanied inter alia by four serving-girls, each of whom was named Mary.
These Four Maries (two of whose names later appear in a folk-song of the title, which actually is fictional) were
- Mary Seaton, daughter of the 6th Lord Seaton, who remained with Mary even into her English imprisonment, until her death, after which she retired into a French Convent
- Mary Beaton, daughter to one of Queen Mary de Guise's ladies-in-waiting, who was later courted by the English Ambassador (in order, it was his hope, that she would spy on the Queen for him), but eventually married Alexander Ogilvie of Boyne, when she was in her twenties.
- Mary Fleming, daughter of Queen Mary's governess, Janet (or Jenny) Fleming. She was the child-queen's age, and on Mary's return to Scotland, Mary Fleming was courted by Sir William Maitland, the Queen's scretary, a man much older than her. They married and, despite rumours that she wished him dead, on his death in English hands, she refused to remarry.
- Mary Livingstone, daughter of the 5th Lord Livingstone, who was eventually to marry John Semple.