When Mary, Queen of Scots was forced to abdicate her throne in favour of her son James, he was only one year old. He did not gain full control of his government until 1581; four different regents held power during his minority. He was not raised by his mother and had little contact with her, as she remained a prisoner in England.
At this point in the story (the year 1583) he is 17. As Mary has been forced to abdicate, and Elizabeth has no children, James is set to inherit the English throne after Elizabeth’s death.
James was a scholar and a writer, authoring several books in his lifetime. He was reportedly very fond of the company of his male courtiers, leading some historians to speculate on the nature of these relationships. Others argue that these men were not his lovers, pointing out that he lists sodomy as an unforgiveable sin in his book Basilikon Doron, and that he married and had seven children with his wife. He was a Protestant, but exercised tolerance towards Catholics.