There are many stories to explain where the word “marmalade” comes from. One account holds that the word was created when Mary Queen of Scots was visiting a French speaking country and fell ill. A fruit preserve made by mixing sugar and oranges was one of the dishes they brought to tempt her palate – and the phrase she overheard constantly was ‘Marie est malade’ (Marie is ill) which gave the name marmalade, and which, incidentally, is a great way to remember the correct spelling of the word.
Though this story is disputed, it is a fact that marmalade was served at banquets and was used medicinally as a digestive aid in England in the 16th century. It has been proved that Mary Queen of Scots took medicinal marmalade for sea-sickness while crossing from Calais to Scotland in 1561. Marmalade was also used as an aphrodisiac.