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Francis and Mary from Reign
Warner Bros. Television

The Most Heartfelt Francis and Mary Scenes from ‘Reign’

Warning: this article contains spoilers.

Mary and Francis remember their childhood

“Follow the signs right back to you.”

I love how taken aback Francis looks when Mary and her ladies take off their shoes and start dancing. Francis quickly starts to remember how lively and carefree Mary was as a child, and how she had hardly changed. Also, the flashback to both of them bouncing on the castle beds and throwing pillow feathers as children is simply adorable. The song’s chorus, “Follow the signs right back to you,” is the perfect embodiment of how Mary and Francis’ love story started the moment those feathers started falling on the ballroom floor.

The wedding scene

“The power of love; a force from above.”

Pause. The way Francis looks at Mary when she’s walking down the aisle? That’s pure endearment. The happiness and security on Mary’s face while she marries Francis is such a stark contrast to when she eventually marries Lord Darnley. It’s almost painful to watch Mary as she walks down the aisle towards Darnley, knowing he will ultimately lead to her doom. Simply put, Francis and Mary were perfect for each other and they deserved more time together beyond one year of marriage. 

The coronation scene

“I want the same world as you do: the better one. We do greater things when we act as one — when we trust each other as equals.”

Francis going in direct opposition of his father’s former patriarchal rule and recognizing Mary as his equal is revolutionary given the time period. Unlike Catherine and Henry, Mary and Francis are trying to operate as equals, to create a progressive France. Throughout their reign, their political partnership remains strong, only faltering in cases where Francis was being blackmailed by Narcisse.

Mary loses the baby

“I couldn’t help wondering if he would have your curls, or if he would have your eyes, or if he would be a mix of us both.”

Even though everyone knew Mary and Francis never had children in real life, I think we were all hoping they would have a child in this storyline. You can feel Mary’s pain when she starts imagining what her child with Francis would have looked like. It’s hard to fathom how much it must have tortured Mary seeing Lola happy with Francis’ child after her miscarriage. 

Mary learns Francis is dying

“When I am gone, you will have nothing here but the position of a widow and I cannot abandon you.” 

Once again, Francis thinks of Mary first despite his suffering. The fact that he kept his grim fate a secret from Mary to preserve her happiness shows Francis’ selfless tendencies when it comes to their love. Denying oneself for the betterment of your partner is genuine, sacrificial love, and Francis demonstrated that perfectly.

The boat scene

“You are so beautiful. If you could see what I see…”

This part of Season 3, Episode 5 is immensely heart-warming simply because Mary and Francis are at their happiest. After nearly losing Francis to an ear infection and having their relationship destroyed by Prince Conde, the couple grows even more fond of each other. Season 2 was a cleansing period for Francis and Mary, and this scene demonstrates how innocence was restored into their love in Season 3. The boat scene in this episode is touching, but when Mary gets on the boat again after Francis dies, it rips your heart out — especially when she looks to where Francis usually sat for approval after she successfully tightened the sail. 

Francis’ death

“[Mary,] You must love again.”

“I can’t. I will never love anyone the way I love you.”

“I pray to God that you do.”

I’m not crying, you’re crying. Imagine how hard it must have been for Francis to think of Mary with another partner in her future. This goes to show how much Francis really loved Mary: he was willing to dismiss any selfish or possessive thoughts to encourage Mary to find happiness without him. It’s such a cruel fate for Mary, rejoicing in your husband’s miraculous healing after scraping death only to have him be slain by Scottish rebels episodes later. 

Mary reads Francis’ letter

“In the darkest of times, you were my conscious. I love you Mary Stuart, forever.” 

This scene is criminally underrated. Even in death, Francis is Mary’s defense and strength. I love how symbolic it is when Mary rides into battle with Francis’ sword to defend Catherine and the French castle from siege one last time. It’s Francis and Mary’s last attempt to restore peace and tolerance to France, knowing that Catherine will uphold her son’s morals as regent better than anyone else.

The “Stay with me” dance

“You’re leading.”

“Just keep your eyes on me. Stay with me, stay with me.”

When Francis falls to his knee (weakened from his illness) and Mary curtsys so it looks intentional — ugh, my poor heart. Mary is so gentle and dances slow to accommodate for his illness, and it’s the sweetest thing ever. The way she encourages Francis to stay strong and maintain his composure the entire dance makes this one of the most intimate and romantic Mary and Francis moments in the whole show.

Mary and Francis reunite in the afterlife

“Too young to know, too old to admit that you couldn’t see how it ends.”

This lyric from “My Eyes” by The Lumineers summarizes Mary and Francis’ reign and relationship perfectly. The pair would have never guessed that one year into their marriage, Francis would have died — or that Mary would lose her claim to England and her country, ultimately being beheaded by Elizabeth. I’m so thankful they ended the show with Mary and Francis reuniting in the afterlife. Despite the rushed ending, this narrative provided some sort of closure for people like me, who loved the show so much because of Francis and Mary’s relationship.

As a bonus, here’s a quote from the real Mary Queen of Scot’s poem about Francis:

“My heart feels ceaselessly

Grief for his loss to me.

Sometimes in such a place

His image comes to me.

The sweet smile on his face

Up in a cloud I see…

True love can not pretend

And though we are apart,

Grows no less in my heart.”

Lauren Jones

Columbia Barnard '24

Hey! My name is Lauren and I'm majoring in Molecular Biology. When I'm not studying, I can be found reading, going to concerts, or impulse buying clothes.
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