The Trial of Mary Queen of Scots

Posted By claire on October 14, 2010

MaryQofScots

Mary Queen of Scots, an engraving by W. T. Fry (1789 – 1843)

On this day in history, 14th October 1586, the trial of Mary Queen of Scots began at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire. Historian John Guy, author of “My Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots”, has written a brilliant chapter on Mary’s downfall, “Nemesis”, and I have him to thank for the information in this article.

Mary Queen of Scots had, at first, refused to appear before Elizabeth I’s commission, but had been told by William Cecil that the trial would take place with or without her. She appeared in front of the commission at 9am, dressed in a black velvet gown and a white cambric cap and veil. Mary then protested against the commission, arguing that the court was not legitimate and arguing against the fact that she was not allowed legal defence and was not able to call any witnesses. Mary was also not permitted to examine any of the documents being used against her. Her protests were in vain and the prosecution went ahead and opened the trial with an account of the Babington Plot, arguing that Mary knew of the plot, had given it her approval, agreed with it and had promised to help. Mary protested her innocence:-

“Mary: I knew not Babington. I never received any letters from him, nor wrote any to him. I never plotted the destruction of the Queen. If you want to prove it, then produce my letters signed with my own hand.
Counsel: But we have evidence of letters between you and Babington.
Mary: If so, why do you not produce them? I have the right to demand to see the originals and copies side by side. It is quite possible that my ciphers have been tampered with by my enemies. I cannot reply to this accusation without full knowledge. Until then, I must content myself with affirming solemnly that I am not guilty of the crimes imputed to me…”1

Unfortunately for Mary, Elizabeth’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, had collected a great deal of evidence:-

  • A confession made by Sir Anthony Babington who had also pleaded guilty at his own trial.
  • A deciphered transcript in English of Mary’s reply to Babington.
  • A reciphered copy of Mary’s original letter to Babington which looked exactly like the original.
  • Confessions from Mary’s secretaries.

When the prosecution produced all of this evidence, Mary burst into tears but still denied her involvement, claiming that the documents were counterfeit. Walsingham proclaimed his innocence, stating that the documents were real. A distraught Mary proclaimed that “I would never make shipwreck of my soul by conspiring the destruction of my dearest sister.”2 The court was then adjourned for lunch.

After lunch, the secretaries’ confessions were read out, much to Mary’s shock and horror. Mary argued that her letters must have been tampered with after she had seen them, and then argued:-

“The majesty and safety of all princes falleth to the ground if they depend upon the writings and testimony of their secretaries… I am not to be convicted except by mine own word or writing.”3

The trial continued the next day with the prosecution accusing Mary of consenting to Elizabeth’s assassination in her reply to Babington. Mary tried to argue that although she had written “then shall it be time to set the gentlemen to work taking order upon the accomplishing of their design”4, she had not specified what the “work” was. However, as the prosecution pointed out, Mary had also appealed for foreign help and although she argued that an act of war, even if it resulted in Elizabeth’s death, was legitimate if it allowed her, a queen, to be free at last, the commission saw her actions as an act of treason.

As the trial closed, Mary demanded that she should be heard in front of Parliament or the Queen, but she was fighting a losing battle. Sentence was delayed as long as possible, by order of Elizabeth, but on the 25th October the commission reconvened and found Mary guilty. On he 29th October, Parliament met to discuss Mary Queen of Scots, the Babington Plot and her role in Lord Darnley’s murder, and it was decided that they should petition Elizabeth to execute Mary. This put Elizabeth in a difficult position as she did not want to be accused of regicide. On the 4th December, Mary was publicly proclaimed guilty and finally, on the 1st February 1587, Elizabeth called her secretary, William Davison, asking him to bring Mary’s execution warrant to her to sign. Elizabeth signed it but told Davison to ask Walsingham to write to Sir Amyas Paulet, in his own name, asking him to kill Mary. This would enable Elizabeth to be rid of her nemesis without taking any responsibility for it, instead Paulet would be acting privately under the Bond of Association*. Paulet was understandably horrified, protesting that “God forbid that I should make so foul a shipwreck of my conscience.”5 Meanwhile, Sir William Cecil called a secret meeting of Elizabeth’s Privy Council which agreed to send the signed warant to Fotheringhay. Cecil appointed the Earls of Shrewsbury and Kent to direct the execution and the council agreed to keep Elizabeth in the dark until the deed was done.

On the 8th February 1587 Mary Queen of Scots was executed at Fotheringhay Castle. Although Elizabeth was furious with her Council, so much so that Cecil fled to his home and Davison was thrown into the Tower, John Guy points out that whatever happened to Mary, whether she was assassinated or executed, Elizabeth could deny any responsibility:-

“She had carefully contrived things so that she would win whatever happened. If Mary was killed under the Bond of Association, Elizabeth could disclaim responsibility. If Cecil covertly sealed the warrant and sent it to Fotheringhay behind her back, she could claim she had been the victim of a court conspiracy.”6

Clever!

* The Bond of Association – p474 John Guy describes the Bond of Association as “a licence to kill”. Anyone signing the Bond, which was drawn up by Cecil and Walsingham in 1584 after the 1583 Throckmorton plot, was swearing to “pursue as well by force of arms as by all other means of revenge” anyone plotting to cause harm to the Queen.

Notes and Sources

  1. My Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots, John Guy, p490.
  2. Ibid., p492
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid., p483
  5. Ibid., p496
  6. Ibid., p497

Further Reading

Comments

49 Responses to “The Trial of Mary Queen of Scots”

  1. THE WHOLE COURT TRANSACTIONS IF, YOU CAN CALL IT THAT, WAS MACABRE.
    NO MATTER WHAT, QUEEN MARY OF SCOTLAND, FRANCE AND ENGLAND WAS A CLEAR
    OMINOUS ROYAL TO ELIZABETH. SIR FRANCES WALSINGHAM IN COORDINATION ARTIFICIALLY, FORCED QUEEN MARY TO HER DEATH. WHEN ONE QUEEN KILLS AN OTHER
    SURLY THIS HAS TO BE REMEMBERED AS UNWORTHY.

    SUCH EVIDENCE WOULD NOT STAND A RATS CHANCE IN COURT TODAY.

  2. Claire says:

    Michael,
    I actually don’t understand your comment, “ominous royal” and “Sir Francis Walsingham in coordination artificially, forced Queen Mary to her death”, but I understand that you believe that Mary was the true Queen of England and was framed.
    Mary, Queen of Scots, may have had a claim to the throne, through Margaret Tudor, but Elizabeth I was Henry VIII’s daughter and her father had re-established her claim to the throne before his death. Also, although Cecil and Walsingham laid traps for Mary, she fell into them by being reckless and by conspiring to assassinate Elizabeth I. Mary was happy enough to plot Elizabeth’s death, a queen and God’s anointed, to fulfil what she believed was her destiny and you seem to forget that. Elizabeth may have finally signed Mary’s death warrant but it is clear that she did not want to and was troubled by killing another sovereign, albeit one who had plotted to kill her. I’m not sure that Elizabeth had much of a choice in the end. Imprisoning Mary had not worked.
    The court had confessions from Babington and even Mary’s secretaries, so had a strong case with or without the letters. You say that “such evidence would not stand a rat’s chance in court today” but I think confessions are strong evidence and we can’t compare court cases today with ones that happened over 400 years ago.

  3. READ, LADY A. FRASER: MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS. THE ONLY BOOK THATS GIVES THE TRUTH. QUEEN MARY OF SCOTS AND LADY JANE GREY LIVE IN THE HEARTS OF MANY. NEVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD AS I KNOW, HAS THERE EVER BEEN AN INSTANCE WERE, ONE QUEEN HAS KILLED AN OTHER. THIS IS SHAMEFUL, TO THE END OF TIME,,, ELISABETH 1st
    SHOULD ONLY BE REMEMBERED FOR THE DISTORTION OF HISTORY AND MURDER. WE KNOW THERE IS NO GLAMOUR IN EITHER, ITHER OR, BOTH. WHAT YOU CAN WRITE ABOUT HER IS JUST HOLYWOOD GLITZ. PERHAPS, SHE TRIED TO CREATE THE WAY SHE WOULD LIKE TO BE SEEN IN THE FUTURE ” THE THEATRE OF THE WORLD IS A BIGGER PLACE THAN ENGLAND” MARY WAS MURDERED OVER THE TREATY OF LEITH AND THE LIES, FALSE ACCUSATIONS. ELISABETH DID NOT HAVE THE WISDOM TO BE QUEEN AND, OR, THE HEART OF A QUEEN SHE WAS A MURDERESS A SERIAL KILLER QUEEN. SURPRISE, SURPRISE, JUST LIKE DADDY.

  4. Claire says:

    Have you read John Guy’s book “Mary Queen of Scots: My Heart is My Own”? That is a brilliant biography by an expert Tudor historian. I don’t think that I write “Hollywood Glitz” about Elizabeth I but you’ve obviously got a bee in your bonnet about Mary Queen of Scots’ execution. How can you call Elizabeth I a serial killer? If that is not distorting history then I don’t know what is. You seem to be accusing me of not being objective about Elizabeth but you are the one who cannot look at Mary Queen of Scots objectively.

  5. ONE SOULD NEVER ASUME, ELIZABETH DISTORTED HISTORY OF THAT YOU MUST AGREE
    THIS IS WHY WE DONT KNOW MUCH ABOUT THIS ERA OF LIZ IE, IS THIS TRUE? YOU CAN ONLY MAKE IT UP ABOUT LIZ. QUEEN MARY WAS WELL RECORDERD AND BECAUSE OF THIS SOME HISTORIAN HAVE TO SUGAR COAT THE PAST LIFE OF LIZ AS EVERYBODY HAS SOMETHING TO HIDE, LIZ CONSEALED MUCH MORE THAN WE WILL EVER KNOW THATS WHY THERE IS SO MUCH SPECULATION, DID SHE ? DID”NT SHE ? WAS SHE ? THE ONLY TRUE THING WE KNOW FOR SURE THAT HAS STOOD THE TEST OF TIME AND WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN IS SHE MURDERED MARY QUEEN OF SCOTLAND, FRANCE AND ENGLAND, POTENTIALLY THIS IS A GOOD REASON TO MURDER MARY AND THE TREATY OF LEITH WAS AN OTHER. READ; LADY A. FRASER
    MQS PERHAPS, IT IS TO REAL AND ONE WOULD NOT WANT TO FACE THE FACT.

  6. Claire says:

    I would say that Elizabeth I and her reign are just as well recorded, if not more, than Mary Queen of Scots, just look at our page on Primary Sources to see all the evidence we have. “THE ONLY TRUE THING WE KNOW FOR SURE THAT HAS STOOD THE TEST OF TIME AND WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN IS SHE MURDERED MARY QUEEN OF SCOTLAND, FRANCE AND ENGLAND” is completely untrue as I have argued with you before. Elizabeth was sympathetic to Mary’s plight for many years and was willing to consider her as her heir. During the Casket Letters tribunal, Elizabeth was concerned with justice and with understanding “truly and plainly the state of the cause of the Queen of Scots”. Mary never gave up her claim to the English throne, approached Philip II to help her with her cause as early as 1568 and was implicated in plots to dethrone and/or assassinate Elizabeth. Elizabeth had to act as Mary would have done if Elizabeth had been conspiring to take her throne. Elizabeth constantly gave Mary the benefit of the doubt and gave her many chances, she did not cold-bloodedly murder her. As John Guy points out in his biography of Mary, “the plot [Babington plot] was not in itself a ‘projection’ [using agent provocateurs to foment conspiracies that were then conveniently ‘detected’] to frame her – it really existed; but rather than nipping it in the bud, Cecil’s spymaster allowed it to develop so that he could obtain the written evidence to put her on trial for her life”. Walsingham and Cecil let the plot continue so that Mary would ‘hang herself’ by getting involved and she did by replying to Babington who was conspiring to get Elizabeth assassinated by a group of ‘six gentlemen’:-

    “The affairs being thus prepared and forces in readiness both without and within the realm, then shall it be time to set the six gentlemen to work taking order, upon the accomplishing of their design, I may be suddenly transported out of this place, and that all your forces in the same time be on the field to meet me in tarrying for the arrival of the foreign aid, which then must be hastened with all diligence.”

    John Guy comments that “Mary’s meaning is clear. She had consented to Elizabeth’s assassination and a foreign invasion. Strictly, she had not specified what the “work” of the six gentlemen was to be, but the letter from Babbington to which she was replying included the graphic passage, ‘For the dispatch of the usurper, from the obedience of whom we are by the excommunication of her made free, there are six noble gentlemen, all my private friends, who for the zeal they bear to the Catholic cause and your Majesty’s service will undertake that tragical execution.’ When the two letters are read together, Mary’s complicity in the plot was undeniable.” p483 of Guy’s book. She was conspiring to murder Elizabeth and was not tried and executed on trumped up charges. She was found guilty by her own words and her secretaries and Babington confessed. Perhaps you need to face the facts.

  7. MARY”S HAND WRITING WAS EASY TO FORGE, THAT WAS NOT MENTIONED IN THE BOOK
    IN THAT WAY YOU HAVE RE-WRITTEN HISTORY, YOU HAVE JUST MADE EVERY THING FACTUAL NO ROOM FOR DEBATE, IT IS SHAMEFUL AND IMMORAL ARE YOU AWARE OR, DO YOU JUST HAVE A MARVELOUS CONCEIT OF YOURSELF, PRAY BLOODY TELL ? I REALLY THINK YOU ARE STARTING TO BELIEVE IN WHAT YOU ARE DOING, THERE IS NO REASON TO MURDER A QUEEN BECAUSE OF TWO LETTERS AND A SECRETARY WHOM WAS PROBABLY A SELF PRESERVATIONIST. MARY WAS MURDERED OVER THE TREATY OF LEITH AND CLOAK AND DAGGER. THE FACT THAT SHE WAS A RIGHTFUL QUEEN TO SCOTLAND, FRANCE AND ENGLAND. I THINK THAT IS THE POINT YOU JUST CANNOT DEAL WITH THAT FACT, IT IS REAL AND YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO STILL COME TO TERMS WITH THAT. ELIZABETH MURDERED A QUEEN OF THREE COUNTRIES THERE IS NO PRIDE IN THAT……OF COURSE YOU WOULD WANT TO CHANGE THAT IT IS SHAMEFUL, GODS WORK.

  8. MARY STOOD TALL AGAINST ALL. FORCED TO LEAVE FOR FRANCE AFTER THE DEATH OF HER FATHER KING OF SCOTLAND, MARY BECOMES QUEEN

    MARRIED THE DAUPHIN OF FRANCE MARY WAS QUEEN.

    MARY QUEEN DAUGHTER OF MARY 1ST A RIGHTFUL HEIR TO THE THRONE OF ENGLAND

    QUEEN QUEEN QUEEN
    I THINK YOU COULD NEVER GIVE THIS BEAUTY ANY OF YOUR IMAGINATION BECAUSE YOU COULD NEVER FIND IT, IN YOURSELF , LET ME HELP YOU.. CAN YOU IMAGINE A WOMAN OF THIS STATURE BEING SO DECEITFUL… YOU ARE SHAMEFUL.

  9. Claire says:

    I really don’t know what you’re talking about. Mary Queen of Scots was not the daughter of Mary I. Mary I did not have any children. Mary Queen of Scots was the daughter of James V of Scotland and his second wife, Mary of Guise.
    I don’t know what you’re talking about when you say that I have rewritten history, at least I am giving some facts and some rational arguments. If you are going to comment on here just to abuse me and spout conspiracy theories with no historical basis then you are not welcome here.

  10. GUISE, THATS RIGHT, YOU ARE RIGHT, BUT STILL SHE HAD RIGHTS TO THE THRONE OF ENGLAND, SCOTLAND, FRANCE, SAY IT, ADMIT IT, YOU JUST CAN”T, PUT YOU EDUCATION TO GOOD USE AND SAY THE TRUTH…..BYE

  11. Mendi says:

    Wow! Claire I just want you to know that I appreciate all the hard work you put into this website and The Anne Boleyn files! I read them everyday on my lunch hour! Keep up the great work!!!

  12. KATE says:

    Exscue me MICHAEL H CURRIE. HOW DARE YOU come onto this site and disrespect the TABT who work tirelessy for The Tudor Cause. MQoS WAS NOT the rightful heir to the English throne. She was merely the granddaughter of the Kings sister. Elizabeth I was the heir from being THE KING DAUGHTHER. Get your facts correct !!!.
    Now lets not forget her own pesronal history shall we : She was the Queen Consort of France for what a mere year, then married and murdered her own cousin Darnley, then married his co- murderer Bothwell. Imprisoned and not wanted by her own Scottish people, after abdicating she fleed to England. If given the chance she too would have murded Elizabeth THE TRUE SOVERGIN QUEEN.
    The articles written here are open for discussion and debate and are backed up by the way by primary and secondary sources. I see that you reference only ONE “modern” day author. At the end of the day James I Inherited the throne so please kindly get over youself. You are not welcome here with your derogatory chavvy comments

  13. THE FACT IS A FACT, SHE DID NOT MURDER LIZ, BUT AS YOU KNOW ? MARY WAS MURDERED BY LIZ AND ALL THE OTHER DISREPUTABLE REPROBATES AGREED.
    ITS MARVELOUS THAT THE FACTS THAT ARE PORTRAIT ARE BELIEVED TO BE TRUE. WE ALL SHOULD KNOW THE LIZ COMPLETELY MANIPULATED, DISTORTED HISTORY TO THE POINT THAT HISTORIANS BELIEVE IT WAS TRUE FOR CENTURIES, NOW WE HAVE FOUND THE TRUTH, IT JUST DOES NOT EQUATE, NO ONE AS MENTIONED THE FACT THAT LIZ DEFACED ART WORKS TO THE POINT OF ALMOST NEANDERTHAL, AND, OR. WHAT BILL WAS SCRIBBLING, TO KEEP UP THE PROPAGANDA TO COMPLETELY BASTARDIZE HISTORY TO THE POINT OF NO RETURN, NEVERTHELESS AS I HAVE SAID THERE IS ALWAYS IMAGINATION. MARY WAS A RIGHTFUL QUEEN TO SCOTLAND, FRANCE, AND ENGLAND IPSO.FACTO, DISPROVE THE FACT, THERE IS NO HIGHER GOD THAN THE TRUTH.

  14. Elyssa says:

    claire,
    I first found the “anne boleyn files” while I was on maternity leave last year and I have been hooked ever since. Like yourself I like to consider myself an armchair historian and i particularily am interested with the english monarchy ( I am Canadian by the way) and i am hoping one day to travel to England and see all that I have read about in person. I have never written a comment here before but i wanted to let you know that because of you and the time and effort you put into these sites you have my eternal thanks. My Husband looks at me like an alien because i am fascinated with history and how things have evolved to bring us to where we are in society now. As much as i would love to step in a time machine and see certain events for my own eyes, I am truly thankful I live in a time where we as human beings are equals, regardless of religion, sex, marital status etc. Queen Elizabeth has always been one of my favorite figures, including both her parents and i know that some 21st century minds have a hard time relating to that era. It seems to me that it did’nt matter who you were in court or who’s court you were in, that there was always intrigue, conspiracies, murder etc. it almost seems like survival of the fittest!!! Now as much as i love Elizabeth i can also sympathize with Mary queen of Scots. A lot of things about her just don’t add up to me especially her trial. charges of treason etc, but that seems to be the norm with the tudor period its just so confusing. You are truly an inspiration, your knowledge and dedication to these sites where like minds can come and discuss and debate issues we love is wonderful and i figured it was time to let you know how i felt. Thank you.

  15. Claire says:

    Hi Mendi,
    Thank you, I’m so glad you enjoy the site.

  16. Claire says:

    Michael,
    You keep accusing Elizabeth of distorting history but where is your evidence? Also why do you feel that Mary was the rightful queen to England or France? You keep forgetting that Mary was never Queen of France in her own right, she was Queen Consort and so was only queen until the death of her husband.

  17. Claire says:

    Kate,
    I agree with you, Mary clearly conspired to get Elizabeth assassinated so if those plans had worked then she would have been guilty of murder. I love debating history and I think it’s great that people get passionate about the subject but like you I think that Michael’s comments are derogatory and some are rather offensive.

  18. Claire says:

    Elyssa,
    Thank you for your comment and I’m so glad that you found the AB Files and Elizabeth Files. I know exactly what you mean, when I start talking Tudor to friends and family their eyes start to glaze over so it’s great to immerse myself in history all day and to get to chat people on here who share my passion. Thank you for your kind words and your support x

  19. THE EVIDENCE IS ALL AROUND YOU YOU JUST DO NOT WANT TO SEE IT CLARE, I CANNOT HELP YOU WITH THAT BUT ! I AM ABLE TO POINT IT OUT SO, YOU HAVE A CLEAR PERSPECTIVE AND PERHAPS, ONE WOULD HOPE THAT WE COULD STAY ON TRACK AND TRY TO PICK UP THE THREADS AND I MEAN THREADS BECAUSE THATS ALL WE HAVE HERE. A QUEEN IS A QUEEN CONSORT OR NOT. YOU DO NOT SUDDENLY STOP BEING A QUEEN, REMEMBER THE THREADS. MARY HAD AN UNFAIR TRIAL, YOU CANNOT CHANGE THAT NO MATTER HOW YOU LOOK AT IT. YOU CANNOT CHANGE THIS, YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT, ONE WOULD HOPE. MARY HAD RIGHTS TO THE THRONES OF SCOTLAND, FRANCE AND ENGLAND THE ONLY QUEEN IN OUR HISTORY. GIVE THIS LADY MORE THAT JUST WHAT YOU HAVE STATED; THAT SHE PLOTTED TO ASSASSINATE LIZ. THAT IS JUST YOUR ASSUMPTION AFTER ALL .

  20. Sarah Rooke says:

    First Michael

    Why are you writing in capitals/ There is no need to SHOUT

    Second, i suggest you read up on your English history mate, because you obiviously do not know it as well as you think

    Third, please dont make abusive comments on this site.

    The punishment for treason in Tudor times was being beheaded if you were of nobile birth – Mary Queen of Scots would have known this, but she condemned herself by writing the letter to Babington

    Elixabeth had imprisoned Mary for about 20 years, she ummed and arred about dispatching her when the plot was unravelled. I do not think that is an action of a cold bllooded killer

    But lets face facts, you are Elizabeth, you have been keeping a foreign queen who conspires to take over your throne. What would you have done? Played tiddlywinks with her? In those days mate, there was only one answer unfortunately

  21. Becky Bunsic says:

    Michael,
    Stop picking on Claire. She has provided us with such a treasure trove of information about Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth and the Tudors in general. She takes painstaking care to provide us with carefully researched and valuable information. Let me quote a comment made by author Jeane Westin: “Claire is one of the most thoughtful, thorough and dedicated writers on the Tudor era that I know. Her websites The Anne Boleyn Files and The Elizabeth Files are my required reading every morning.” That goes ditto for me. You are entitled to your opinion but you are not entitled to insult and abuse Claire. Mary Queen of Scots was hardly the paragon of virtue that you seem to believe she was. The facts are indisputable. She endorsed at least one plot that included having Elizabeth murdered. Even though it never came to fruition (thank God) I think that qualifies HER as a killer queen and not Elizabeth. Elizabeth was protecting her throne and her country which had suffered enough under the Catholic rule of Mary I. I guess you think that it would have been better for England for the Scots queen to pick up where Mary I left off and actually succeeded in bringing the Inquisition there. If Mary I would have lived longer I can assure you that’s what would have happened. Food for thought? A veritable feast if you ask me.

  22. Ebeth says:

    Michael, I think you should do a little more research and develop your own MQS files. We must all remember the harshness of the Tudor times. Being a royal relative was a curse in that you were considered a threat through potential uprising. We can judge very little of their actions by our present day standards.

  23. Walsingham says:

    Dear Claire,

    I have just found your w/site and read the diatribe between Mr Currie, yourself and others with interest. Michael’s surname is of interest as this is a Scottish name. I believe the Currie’s are a Highland Clan who were mainly Catholic at this period, so perhaps he has some self-interest here?

    Some study of the original papers in the English National Archives, the Cecil Papers and the letters of Amyas Paulet, might give Michael a chance to come to a more rounded conclusion. MQS has clearly worked her charms on him, as was hoped they would on Sir Amyas Paulet, Mary’ last gaoler. Thankfully, he was too staunch a man and far too loyal a man to succumb to such blandishments.

    Had Mr Currie been alive in 1586 and voicing his opinions as loudly as he does here, he might well have found himself suffering the same fate as Babington and his crew….

  24. Dawn says:

    Bit late in the day, but have just come across this, and I have never seen written such a load of inaccurate ranting on MQOS in my life as posted by M.Currie. its laughable to the point of hysteria, except for the insults which are not acceptable. But that goes to prove the point, that in a heated debate such as this, when a person starts becoming personal and offensive, it is then they realise that they have lost the debate and falls back on rude and ignorant remarks, and yes Mr. Currie I am speaking about you, now I am going to give you something else to rant about if you are still hovering about:

    Mary was more French than Scottish in her ways and out look. Shipped across to France as a child, was spoilt, molycoddled and pampered and had a head full of romantic rubbish and no common sense. She signed her own country over to the French, which luckily for Scotland, was retified.
    She came back to Scotland to take her throne and was not impressed by the very basic living style, the people, the religious tones or the harsh climate.
    She had no idea how to rule, would not take on advise given by those that did, her main aim, to put it bluntly, was to get laid.. and even her choice in that was disney. A male version of herself, a spoilt fop. Whether she was involed in Darnleys murder or not, she did herself no favours by jumping in bed with the renegade Bothwell, likely before Darnleys murder. How stupid must you be with people suspecting you of murder entering Edinbugh visible pregnant with another mans child (twins).
    Her own people despised her for the strumpet/murderss they thought she was, if she had not have fled they would have lynched her. After her escape and abdication she was abandoned by her country, her husband and even her son, all though a baby, when he grew to a young man he never offered a helping hand to his mother, even France wasn’t bothered. Says it all really, she lost everything because of her bedroom behaviour, Hello,whos a silly girl then….The only place left.. England.
    I tell you what Liz, as you call her, you give me santuary for 20 years and I pay you back, with, plots, schemes,declaring myself Queen of England, threats of assassination, but thats o.k. Liz, cos we are family, whats a few disloyal acts between cousins, eh…
    The problem is , she wasn’t bloody clever enough to comprehend the consequences of her air-brained schemes, was she. She backed Elizabeth into a corner, and yes Elizabeth wasn’t perfect and made mistakes, but at least she didn’t sacrifice her country for a roll in the sack….
    Marys execution weighed on her mind for the rest of her life. Oh yes didn’t notice James kicking off much that his mother was minus her head, did you…
    So Mr. Currie you live in the same fantasy world she did if thats the way of you, rewrite history too if you must, but she used her helpless little woman act and her sexuality to con many a stupid man, and its exactly that which lost her everything including her life
    .
    And in the end Scotland inherited England, so, game over!!!

    Hope I haven’t offended any of you nice ladies and gents on the site with my short synopsis of the scottish Queen, I know it was very basic, and I know there was a lot more invoved, and I do enjoy reading about her. But as a Queen, especially in those times, if you let your heart rule your head, you were doomed from the start…..Elizabeth did it the other way round, and kept her royal bottom FIRMLY on the throne,where it rightly should have been.. enough said, bye for now.

  25. Sarah Lancer says:

    Can you give me any information about the trial of Mary. Who were sitting in judgment? Were there any defenders? Were there any pamplets after the trial describing minute details?
    Thank you for any insight.
    Sarah

  26. Esther says:

    Mary didn’t have a “defender” in the sense of having something equivalent to legal assistance, but that wasn’t anything special … Tudor treason trials did not give any rights to the accused. Anne Boleyn didn’t get an attorney and she too, was denied the right of cross-examining the witnesses against her. There were some on the jury who were reputed to sympathize with her, and a Lord Zouch actually voted for acquittal, claiming that the charges “were not sufficiently proven”.

    It is significant, though, that the only reason Mary got a trial at all was because Elizabeth vetoed the original law, based on the original “Band of Association”, which allowed Mary to be killed, whether she knew of any plot or not.

  27. Wally Pynn says:

    I understand the oftentimes red-hot passion that may accompany some idea, opinion, or hypothesis. It frequently adds flavour to a brew, so to speak. But the tone of that passion is sometimes enough to throw a wrench into things. I do understand Michael’s wanting us to see his side: we all wish that in a light-hearted discussion, I figure. And when we accompany mis-facts with apparent disrespect for the opinions and proofs of others, the discussion, stalemates and sours. Claire, as do others here, has always, in my view, presented fair and open-minded dialogue. It’s thus interesting. One might not necessarily agree with all such dialogue, but isn’t that the fun of it? I like some of what you are saying, Michael ..but be nice, now. lol

    Ok … lol So here’s my little poem of Mary, Queen of Scots, if I may lighten things.

    Humid dingy dungeon saps my rest,
    Like heavy sand in tortoise holes;
    I yawn within my endless wasted best.
    Subjects loyal mocked my cause in callous misery
    With Liz whose face and heart had scoffed at me.
    The scrolls fine tell my father’s testament of rightful seige
    And falsely they did trace my Royal youthful leige.
    I chose not once to swallow thee nor did I juggle vice
    To stage my honour all of me and men and mice.

    My blood with taste of Tudor vile and loathing myth
    Forced Pooch a stead on me to bare the truth herewith.
    I scanned a thousand nights our spirits bold in reign
    And saw our worth that bore conspiracy and lies of hell and shame.

    My Scottish Vertebrae of splintered chards from scalp and spine
    No better now than spoiled grapes from English Vintage Vines.
    My crimson dress it spooked you all, my last at will to do
    And warrant null had caused in Sis a rival fit for two.
    But now you read my truth thus wrote on pages held by time
    When of my word back then you bullied it as feint and slime.

  28. MariAn OBrien says:

    What we know:
    Mary Queen of Scots appealed to her cousin Queen Elizabeth for aide. Mary had been abducted and imprisoned by ambitious Scottish lords involved in a coup to overthrow her reign in Scotland. Unbeknowst to Mary, Queen Elizabeth took an active role in this coup that ultimately led to Mary’s death.
    Mary’s Scotland reign was free of religious persecution. She desired peace.
    While imprisoned by Scottish lords she was forced to abdicate to her infant son’s reign.
    Now fleeing to England she appeals to cousin Elizabeth.
    In response to Mary’s plea to her family, her cousin; Elizabeth then IMPRISONS her for nearly 2 decades. Mary was only in her early 20’s when the the imprisonment by Elizabeth began.
    Mary wanted to be free.
    Mary believed in the anointing of a Queen.
    Mary had no desire to violate another anointed Queen. Mary only wanted to be free of Queen Elizabeth’s imposed imprisonment. Imprisonment without charge for 19 years. 19 years.
    Mary wanted to be free. That is all.
    The rest was the politics and plotting of Walsingham, Cecil, Duc de Guise and Phillip of Spain.
    Mary wanted freedom.

  29. Claire says:

    Hi MariAn,
    Thank you for commenting on my article. I think there is a huge difference between fact and theory, evidence and hypothesis, and so I have to disagree with some of what you say, particularly “Mary wanted to be free. That is all”.
    Both queens believed that they were God’s anointed sovereigns and that is why Elizabeth took so long trying to figure out what to do with Mary. As I said in a comment above, Elizabeth was sympathetic to Mary’s plight for many years and was willing to consider her as her heir. During the Casket Letters tribunal, Elizabeth was concerned with justice and with understanding “truly and plainly the state of the cause of the Queen of Scots”. Mary never gave up her claim to the English throne, approached Philip II to help her with her cause as early as 1568 and was implicated in plots to dethrone and/or assassinate Elizabeth. Elizabeth had to act as Mary would have done if Elizabeth had been conspiring to take her throne. Elizabeth constantly gave Mary the benefit of the doubt and gave her many chances, she did not cold-bloodedly murder her. As John Guy points out in his biography of Mary, “the plot [Babington plot] was not in itself a ‘projection’ [using agent provocateurs to foment conspiracies that were then conveniently ‘detected’] to frame her – it really existed; but rather than nipping it in the bud, Cecil’s spymaster allowed it to develop so that he could obtain the written evidence to put her on trial for her life”. Walsingham and Cecil let the plot continue so that Mary would ‘hang herself’ by getting involved and she did by replying to Babington who was conspiring to get Elizabeth assassinated by a group of ‘six gentlemen’:-
    “The affairs being thus prepared and forces in readiness both without and within the realm, then shall it be time to set the six gentlemen to work taking order, upon the accomplishing of their design, I may be suddenly transported out of this place, and that all your forces in the same time be on the field to meet me in tarrying for the arrival of the foreign aid, which then must be hastened with all diligence.”
    John Guy comments that “Mary’s meaning is clear. She had consented to Elizabeth’s assassination and a foreign invasion. Strictly, she had not specified what the “work” of the six gentlemen was to be, but the letter from Babbington to which she was replying included the graphic passage, ‘For the dispatch of the usurper, from the obedience of whom we are by the excommunication of her made free, there are six noble gentlemen, all my private friends, who for the zeal they bear to the Catholic cause and your Majesty’s service will undertake that tragical execution.’ When the two letters are read together, Mary’s complicity in the plot was undeniable.” p483 of Guy’s book. She was conspiring to murder Elizabeth and was not tried and executed on trumped up charges. She was found guilty by her own words and her secretaries and Babington confessed.
    Yes, politics and traps were involved but that does not mean that Mary was not guilty, she walked into those traps and implicated herself. She did not desire peace, she desired the throne of England, believing it was hers.

  30. MariAn OBrien says:

    Mary Queen of Scots had a responsibility to deal with Darnley, as her husband, as the witnessed murderer of Rizzio and as a plotter against her own life and the life of the future child and King, James.
    QE1 had no responsibility in the Darnley affairs any more than MQoS had in how QE1 dealt with Dudley.
    As to plotting against QE1 by QMofS, there was no plotting against QE1 by MQofS when MQofS was a free Queen. Whereas QE1 was forever meddling in Scottish affairs with spies, purchasing Scottish lords, etc. for the purpose of deposing MQofS and destablizing the Scottish kingdom. There is no evidence that MQofS was doing the same toward QE1 when a free Queen.

    QE! imprisoned MQofS unlawfully. If QE1 had no malice against MQofS she would have granted her safe passage to France among her relatives the Guises in 1568, not imprisoned her for 2 decades. As it was, it took 2 decades of plotting by QE1 and court to find some reason to behead her. If you don’t want counter-plotting, don’t imprison.

    For lawful trials, the accused is permitted to examine the evidence against them, interview the witnesses, let alone access to counsel. If QE1 and court truly believed they had an honest case all of the above would have been permitted.

    But the real question is: Why did QE1 imprison MQofS for 2 decades, if not to slowly strangle her?

  31. Dawn says:

    It never fails to amaze me that no matter how many facts there are, how much documented evidence there is, or how many learned historians write down these things, that there are some who still believe that she was completely innocent in everything.
    What sticks out the most, to me anyway is the fact that she lost the support of her own country, and they wanted rid, for a combination of many things, all listed in the history books. In relative times, and the religious conflict that there was then, as soon as Mary crossed that border she became a loose cannon, and a real threat to the English throne, whether she want to be or not. Elizabeth was trapped between a rock and a hard place, and there are some very hard decisions to be made when you are at the top.
    But at the end of the day Mary did get the English throne, not directly, but through her son, so in that respect you could say she won…

  32. MariAn OBrien says:

    Queen Mary of Scots [MQS] was a VERY popular Queen in both Scotland and France UNTIL the English slander machine ran full force after the Darnley murder. Sir Cecil had already started the slander after the Rizzio murder and failed gov’t takeover, of which Cecil and QE1 were fully aware. Walsingham continued the process AFTER MQS entered England in response to a PROMISE by QE1 to assist MQS in every way.

    There is no evidence against MQS for the Darnley murder. She sent an official letter to Ambassador Beaton in France BEFORE she left to retrieve Darnley from Glascow – the purpose being to avert another coup d’etat by Darnley and his dad Lennox.

    MQS had been trained from birth in Scotland and as a young Queen in France in the mechanics of CODE writing. All Kings/Queens and high level gov’t officials wrote in CODE whenever they communicated sensitive issues. If MQS had written Bothwell about a murder plot in would have been in CODE, not poor French grammar. Besides the only evidence of Morton finding a casket is on July 11, 1567 AFTER the gov’t takeover (thus it could not justify a coup etat) and it contained JEWELS NOT letters.

    Read the actual Conviction letter written by spymaster Walsingham based on tortured Babington’s ‘confession’. There was NO Letter from MQS, in French, English or Code used at the Fotheringay trail. Even the letter from Walsingham states that MQS disavowed any ownership of the escape plan though she agreed to escape. She also urged her rescuers to protect QE1 not kill her. The statements usually quoted of the letter to ‘prove’ agreement with the escape plan ONLY agree to escape, NOT assassination.

    So the Fotheringay execution was judicial MURDER, planned by Cecil/ Walsingham/QE1 and executed. Besides Queen Elizabeth asked Paulet – the jailor to MURDER MQS before the PUBLIC execution took place.

  33. MariAn OBrien says:

    Here is CONVICTION LETTER paragraph that immediately PRECEDES the oft quoted section ‘out of context’ that supposedly ‘proves’ complicity in an assassination plot. It this paragraph written just before the ‘6 gentlemen’ paragraph – the Conviction Letter urges the rescuers to MAINTAIN Queen Elizabeth. We know MQS means QE1 because she removes herself from the statement as the intended Queen by ‘unnaming me’:

    “These precepts may serve to found and establish amongst all associations, or considerations general, as done only for your preservation and defense, as well in religion as lands, lives, and goods, against the oppression and contempts of the said Puritans, WITHOUT directly writing, or giving out any thing ANY THING AGAINST the Queen, but RATHER SHEWING YOURSELVES WILLING TO MAINTAIN HER and her lawful heirs after her, UNNAMING ME.”

    MQS UN-names herself as an HEIR to QE1 and urges them to MAINTAIN QE1.

    Then follows the paragraph oft used to damn MQS – out of context – then placed next to the Babington plot ‘usurper’ quote.

    “The affairs being thus prepared, and forces in readiness, both within and without the realm, then shall it be time to set the Six Gentlemen on work, taking good order upon the accomplishment of their discharges, I may be suddenly transported out of this place, and meet WITHOUT tarrying for the arrival of the FOREIGN AID, which then must be hastened with all diligence.”

    Paraphrased: ‘Maintain/ protect Queen Elizabeth and her heirs of which I am NOT one, then when ready set the 6 rescuers to discharge the rescue – get me outta her – without foreign invasion.’

    Without actual reading the ENTIRE letter, the slander continues.

  34. MariAn OBrien says:

    QE1 – GUILTY VERDICT first, then the TRIAL:
    In the book “The Last Days of Mary Queen of Scots [MQS]” by Samuel Cowan, published by Lippincott in 1907 and based per the author upon British State Papers and upon MQS’s physician Bourgoyne’s journal, see page 64 – located at archive.org:

    That BEFORE the trial at Fotheringhay on 14 October 1585 that Queen Elizabeth Tudor [QE1] instructed Cecil/ Burghley and spymaster Walsingham in writing to convict MQS as guilty.

    QE1 to Cecil & Walsingham
    “Upon examination and trial of the cause, you SHALL by VERDICT find the said Queen (MQS) GUILTY of the crime wherewith she standeth charged.”

  35. Charles Holden says:

    My question is, if she may not be guilty of conspiracy, then why did she use the Alphabet of Ciphers in her letters?

  36. Charles Holden says:

    When I say may not be guilty, I mean if she hadn’t actually been behind the conspiracy (she was obviously found guilty during the trial). I had read the trial speeches of Mary Queen of Scots, and after only having read that, my knowledge is quite insufficient. Mary had denied even knowing Babington, but recalled a Babington in one of the letters sent to her. She denied writing anything back to him. Furthermore, her letters were coded with the Alphabet of Ciphers, and she mentions during her trial that the letters may have been deciphered falsely in order to support the commission’s accusations. The question I was trying to ask, is that if she was telling the truth about having nothing to do with the Babington conspiracy, then why did she write in code? When I read the trial it sounds like the entire thing was a setup (starting with the Act of Association 2 years before). There seemed to be no hard evidence other than copies of deciphered letters and confessions by those who weren’t present. Perhaps the Act was made in order to set Mary up, which would lead one to believe more firmly that Mary may have not actually conspired at all. But the question of why she coded her letters allows me now to think otherwise. Anyway, I just wanted to put this out there, and hopefully get a response on this matter. There was no discussion that I remember when reading the trial, that mentioned anything about why she coded the letters in the first place. If I were Walsingham, that would have been something I would have asked.

  37. Artissimus Dei says:

    I am no expert on Elizabethan period history, and have not read the above books mentioned on this site. I am grateful for each of your insights, both Claire’s and Mr. M. Currie’s. However, Claire, I think what Mr. Currie was trying to convey, which none of you have adequately answered in part or at all, was the presumption of non-forgery by Cecil et al trying to frame MQS, and also the presumption that Elizabeth I had any authority at all to allow mere Parliament et al to try another Queen. For the same reasons why the “divorce” trials against Catherine of Aragon’s were a sham right from the start, (Catherine also refused to acknowledge nor submit to an illegitimate court), MQS also did initially. Even if MQS lacked the intelligence to insist upon her “court’s” illegality as Aragon did, and caved in later to try and “defend” herself (not smart in an England full of anti-Catholic plotters by that time), it seems agreed upon historians and filmmakers alike that such a trial of another Queen, was highly illegal, or out of jurisdiction.

    Further, there still lingers another presumption: that Henry VIII’s courts after Thomas Cranmer were themselves legal, because even at that time, Church Jurisdiction did (and still today does) overlap in many areas with Civil Jurisdiction. Cranmer’s bastardization of the ancient Rite of Mass, to introduce “innovations” such as the non-sacrificial nature of the Mass and the demotion of the Host in Communion, to become now merely a symbol or “commemoration”, among a long list of things contrary to Biblical Sacred Tradition (revealed as immutable by Christ Himself, no authority for any King or Laymen to change the original Form and Substance of the Holy Mass). It is perhaps only today, that many Anglicans / Episcopalians, are returning en masse to the One True Church, now that the former is ordaining lesbian bishops (merely stating the facts). This is not to say, that Catholics before Henry VIII were blameless either–it is quite true that they also blasphemed and refused to obey Scripture, tended to “lord over” others, and to side with abusive Monarchies even though 1 Sammuel shows God’s tremendous displeasure over Monarchies in general, which did not really get “remedied” until WW I.

    The bigger picture is this: MQS was indeed a Queen, and QE1 was, for all her qualities and genius, one who herself knew that she had no real authority to condemn her cousin also a Queen. QE1 was also said to have anguished over this fact, concerned that she would be setting a precedent for Regicide. Why was MQS held prisoner for 19+ years in the first place, without QE1 having any real authority to do so? From that perspective, MQS could not be blamed, even if Cecil’s “evidence” was not a forgery.

    It is readily apparent that both Catholics and Protestants of that period (same as today) have conspired to inflict unfair or unlawful “trials” upon one another, merely for “religious and political” gain. However, in the balance of things, the Catholic sides did have an important point (despite their grave and MANY sins), that Christ established only One True Church, and that church certainly wasn’t Protestant nor Anglican (with its so many innovations purporting their Monarch to be head of the Church…was and is today still blasphemy.) Christ did establish the Chair of St. Peter, and bequeathed the Holy Mass coming from the Father, not from men, did He not? So why do you people infighting amongst yourself not learn to reconcile, return to the One Church, and correct its abuses within, rather than continue to try being “separate” inventing your own religion, which in divine law has no real authority?

    It is sad to reflect upon England and America today, which has inherited its anti-Catholic stance, embedded in their very legal and cultural / educational institutions, which is leading to global atheism and decline of Christianity itself, into more liberal Protestantized and Masonic forms, whereby there is no more Confessional, no more Holy Communion, no more valid / authentic Mass, and where no one is obliged to Atone to your brethren for sins, nor to pay the musicians / Sons of Asaph, seeing music now become like hand-clapping guitar Pentacostalism, even in so-called modern Catholic churches and Protestant “services” worldwide. No wonder no one attends anymore, as predicted in Scripture when all disobey these things. For failing to obey Commandments, God “raises Nations against” both Catholics and Protestants, when they should instead reunite and reconcile under the One Church. This won’t happen by Protestants trying to make Catholicism “more Protestant”. Sorry. Scripture does not allow compromises there. It can only happen when ALL stop lying with themselves, acknowledge the all sinned, atone to one another, and re-affirm the One Church together. That is, no more feel-good “services” or “Masses” where the Communion is merely a symbol, or where everyone gets away with murder.

    If indeed, the Catholic Church was and still is the One Church Christ established, then MQS, for all her faults and stupidities, was indeed justified to want freedom, and even to seek the eventual removal of QE1 or conversion back to the True Faith. The Pope’s Excommunication of her gave legitimacy and moral obligation for all Catholics to fraternally correct, or even remove from office, those who would perpetrate only more division and suffering onto the world, in ways which led up to WW I & II (and perhaps III).

    More serious is the question, was MQS’s “trial” legitimate in the first place. History,and QE1 herself, seem to agree, it wasn’t. Nor was her imprisonment for 19 yrs which directly led to it.

    I cannot blame Protestants and Atheists for so hating the many hypocrisies and ignorance of most Catholics. I as a Catholic, have witnessed it myself, and share the same disgust at fellow Catholics. However, remember we each only have limited time / money to learn how the World came to be as it is now, and so we tend to act with ignorance, and limited perspective, due to our imperfections, even in this website. The bigger picture, ladies, is to stop scapegoating MQS for her stupidity and murderous intents (if Cecil’s wasn’t forged), and to stop presuming those Letters weren’t forged. Far better to admit you all, we all, were murderers of Christ, and those who fought for Christ.

    May God forgive Henry VIII and Thomas Cranmer for the monstrosities they unleashed to this day onto the world. Their descendants (you) will have to do the atoning.

  38. Diane Masterson says:

    First, I’d like to say how much I enjoy your website and all of the effort that goes into producing it. Secondly, I’d like to say that I’m sorry to see the rude and disparaging remarks by Michael H. Currie. While I certainly understand his privilege to disagree, it is his ungentlemanly manner that surprises me. Two people can agree to disagree, and debate the issues, without getting into all the name calling. I think Mr Curry’s emotions have taken over his common sense. People are not impressed by an emotionally overwrought person on any subject. I know I am not. Again, I love the site and the information.

  39. Claire says:

    Thank you, that’s so kind of you to say, Diane. Mary, Queen of Scots is one of those characters that people get rather “heated” about, but you are right in saying that we can still be polite while debating and disagreeing. Thank you!

  40. kendahke says:

    At the end of the day, all Mary Stuart needed to do was to sit tight, rule Scotland as a just queen and the throne of England would have come to her eventually. She didn’t feel she should have to do that; she felt that it should be hers immediately and because of this, events fell out in experience that brought about her repeatedly getting caught up in the web of others. She just did not exercise good judgment.

    I do believe that she was set up for expediency’s sake to eliminate the focus of disaffected Catholics. It’s unfortunate that she had not developed the sense of survival and suspicion that Elizabeth did when Mary Tudor was queen to know when to move and when to keep still.

  41. Sandy says:

    Hello Claire. I just recently discovered your website via Facebook. As an American with a rather new obsession with your history (particularly the Tudor monarchy), I find this site entertaining and invaluable. This love for English history started about 5-10 years ago by reading the historical faction books of authors such as Philipa Greggory and Susan Higginbotham. Through your website, I am now open to a whole host of books that may be more factually based. As far as Mary, QOS is concerned, I have always felt a bit of sympathy for her. I don’t necessarily doubt her guilt but I wonder if I wouldn’t have made some of the same choices had I been her.

    Thanks again for all you do and the articles you write. You make it very easy for the layperson and make these folks come alive with your writing.

  42. Sharee says:

    Wow…what a long and interesting thread!!

    I would firstly like to thank Claire for her continuous researching and providing all of us readers with further information to become more informed of our Tudor history.

    Of course, we will never know exactly what happened as we were not there. It appears MICHAEL may have appeared from the past and is living now in this time. He seems very determined that he knows the truth.

    Since history is about finding facts from different sources, one can not just follow one source.

    I think it could have been a possibility that Mary Queen of Scots was drawn into this group to overthrow Queen Elizabeth. In those times it would not have been hard to frame someone and the people in this group would have benefitted greatly if Mary Queen of Scots had won her prize. Who knows Mary may have been pressured it to this arrangement, as it clearly shows Elizabeth was pressured into signing the execution papers for Mary.

    MICHAEL, there is no need to RANT at Claire. It is very inappropriate & basically it is bullying! Claire provides her readers with excellent information every day and as a follower of hers, she has always shown both sides to a story. Her extensive research offers her viewers different sides to events and people of the Tudor time.
    As I mentioned before, MICHAEL you can not just follow one source, or one person’s view on the subject. Was Lady A. Fraser living in Tudor times??

    If anyone is trying to change history, it is people like you with a narrow mind, who only believes in one thing and does not look at the full picture!!

  43. Kristine says:

    Best. Debate. Ever.

  44. Claire says:

    Thank you! That’s so kind of you to say.

  45. cynthia says:

    Lovely! I just came across The Elizabeth Files and I must say this has been a most interesting read. I concur with Kristine – Best. Debate. Ever.

  46. Christine says:

    Iv just seen these posts as I don’t look on the Elizabeth files much, iv read Frasers book on Mary Queen Of Scots and found it very enjoyable whilst feeling sorry for Mary it’s obvious that she did become involved in the plot to assassinate Elizabeth, but she had been a prisoner for twenty years and I suppose she thought that was the only way she could be free, she did say to Babington she leaves the murder of Elizabeth to his conscience so she’s not quite condoning it but not really condemning it either, her whole life was rather like a soap opera and she arouses fierce debate like Anne Boleyn does, did she agree to the murder of Darnley we will never know, there are the Casket Letters but were they written by her? Like Anne and her alleged adultery it’s a mystery Scotland wasn’t an easy country for a man to rule let alone a woman brought up in France where all she had to do was dance and sing, she was unprepared for the harsh land she had to return to after her mother died, she seemed to court disaster as she fell headlong into a disastrous marriage then whilst pregnant her secretary was murdered in front of her, then Darnley was blown up, abduction by Bothwell and then the uprising against her and her eventual bid for freedom which led to her racing over the border instead of sailing to France where she would have been welcomed with open arms, all these actions are those of a reckless impulsive woman who wasn’t really fit to be Queen, however she was said to be very brave and I believe she was, her fault was that she let her heart rule her head, and put her trust in Elizabeth instead of France, as Fraser said, it was unthinkable for Protestant Elizabeth to take up arms against Scotland on behalf of her Catholic Cousin, this was the politics of the day, whilst feeling sorry for Mary she did bring a lot of her troubles on herself, incidentally Anthony Babington married Margery Draycott a relative of mine, I would just like to add that Michael bloke seems a bit of a nut, ranting and raving like that.

  47. Peter F says:

    I got involved in history again,now I have retired,but I wanted to approach it from the working persons point of view,to understand their take on it.I have found out lots of what we were taught at school in the 50-60s was incorrect,but probably that’s all they knew then.I bet the working Peasant only knew a quarter of what was going on in the upper classes ,if that much.They were so caught up in trying to get food for tomorrow and surviving ,that this was another world away for them.Henry 8th had,in Hampton Court, 200 workers,in the kitchens alone.I am suprised another Wat Tyler never raised their head,as it must have been dreadful for the workers seeing all this different life style.I think the workers never gave a toss who was head of the Church or who was in power,as long as not another of their children died or their partner never got ill,so no food was coming in.Perhaps things don’t change much..

  48. Daisie says:

    A large portion of my dissertation is Mary and the catholic threat to the Elizabethan settlement and so I have been reading a lot in to this for months now.
    Though a part of me will always in a way pity Mary, I have to agree in that she sealed her own fate. Though Mary was framed by Walsingham, Mary was more than happy to involve herself in the dealings of the Ridolphi, Babbington and Throckmorton plots.
    She did have a difficult life, that much is clear, though Mary did not make the right decisions and allowed herself to be embroiled in plots that were always going to lead to her execution. Mary tempted fate,which for a while was on her side in that she wasn’t executed sooner.Despite the “dirty dealings” of Walsingham and parliament Mary had involved herself in plots against Elizabeth’s life, therefor comitting treason and sealing her own fate.
    Whilst I acknowledge that some of the actions directed towards mary do, to a modern day historian seem unfair and unjust, involvement with such plots today would arguably result in the same fate.

  49. Linda Lawrence says:

    I am not going to argue or be rude to anyone here but I firmly believe that Mary queen of Scots was one of the most wronged women in history ! I believe she was innocent of conspiring to have Elizabeth 1 murdered .The ones that confessed more then likely did so under torture .It is possible that she may have had a hand in the murder of Lord Darnley but that being said he was a tyrant drunk and even a threat to his own child .

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