Dis­cover how fam­ily be­came the bit­ter­est ri­vals as two queens went head-to-head for Eng­land’s suc­ces­sion

All About History - - CONTENTS - Writ­ten by Jes­sica Leggett

The bloody death of Mary, Queen of Scots ended the ri­valry that had con­sumed both her and her cousin, Queen El­iz­a­beth I of Eng­land, for al­most three decades. Pit­ted against each other as fe­male rulers in a man’s world, the once seem­ingly af­fec­tion­ate re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two queens soured as schem­ing and in­trigue in­ter­vened to the point where only one of them could walk away alive.

Mary was just six days old when she be­came Queen of Scots after the death of her fa­ther King James V. With her mother, Mary of Guise, left in Scot­land to rule in her stead Mary was sent to France at the ten­der age of five to be raised as the fu­ture wife of Prince Fran­cis, son and heir of King Henri II and Queen Cather­ine de Medici.

The cou­ple mar­ried in a sump­tu­ous cer­e­mony in April 1558 and after the sud­den death of Henri just a year later, Mary and

Fran­cis as­cended the throne to be­gin their long-awaited reign of glory. Un­for­tu­nately, it was trag­i­cally brief as Fran­cis, suf­fer­ing from a deadly ear in­fec­tion, died in De­cem­ber 1560. No longer needed in France, Mary re­turned to Scot­land in 1561 as an 18-year-old widow, set­ting eyes on her realm for the first time in 13 years. Wel­comed warmly by her peo­ple, Mary’s re­turn was met with sus­pi­cion by the Protes­tant lords who had seized power dur­ing her ab­sence. After all, they weren’t ea­ger to see the re­turn of their young, Catholic queen after es­tab­lish­ing Protes­tantism in Scot­land.

They weren’t the only ones to dread her re­turn. Just seven months after Mary’s mar­riage to Fran­cis, El­iz­a­beth had as­cended the throne in Eng­land. It was no se­cret that Ro­man Catholics, both in Eng­land and the rest of Europe, per­ceived El­iz­a­beth to be a bas­tard and a pre­tender to the throne. In their eyes it was Mary, as a great-grand­daugh­ter of King Henry VII, who was the right­ful Queen of Eng­land.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, El­iz­a­beth’s Privy Coun­cil and in par­tic­u­lar her chief ad­vi­sor, Sir Wil­liam Ce­cil, were dis­turbed to hear that Mary had in­cor­po­rated the arms of Eng­land into her own dur­ing her time in France.

Al­though Mary had been raised by Henri to be­lieve that she was the right­ful Queen of Eng­land for his own per­sonal gain, his am­bi­tion had be­come Mary’s – and it was all-con­sum­ing.

Now in Scot­land, Mary was ob­sessed with the is­sue of the English suc­ces­sion. Adopt­ing a charm of­fen­sive, she sent her cousin count­less af­fec­tion­ate let­ters and gifts to her “dear­est sis­ter and cousin” as well as an am­bas­sador to Eng­land, hop­ing to en­cour­age El­iz­a­beth to name her heir.

Un­der­stand­ing that Mary was a ri­val but not, at this stage, an en­emy, El­iz­a­beth also in­dulged in ex­chang­ing let­ters and gifts, al­though she avoided an­swer­ing the am­bas­sador’s ques­tions and danced around the topic of her heir.

Mean­while, Mary found her­self em­broiled in po­lit­i­cal in­trigue and poor de­ci­sions in Scot­land. The ques­tion sur­round­ing her own suc­ces­sion had sparked de­bate amongst

Mary’s nobles, who ar­gued over who would

make a suit­able hus­band for their queen. Even El­iz­a­beth waded into the dis­cus­sion, sug­gest­ing her own favourite, Robert Dudley, as a suitor.

Mary was left in­fu­ri­ated by El­iz­a­beth’s sug­ges­tion. Not only was Dudley far be­neath her in terms of rank, but Mary knew that he was El­iz­a­beth’s ru­moured lover – why would she want her cousin’s left­overs? Bizarrely, El­iz­a­beth even went as far as to sug­gest that Mary and Dudley could live in Eng­land – with her – in a mé­nage à trois. Need­less to say, both Mary and Dudley were not im­pressed.

Tak­ing mat­ters into her own hands, Mary chose her own hus­band – her first cousin Henry Stu­art, Lord Darn­ley. They mar­ried in 1565 and since Darn­ley had his own claim to the English throne, their mar­riage bol­stered Mary’s po­si­tion in her quest to be named El­iz­a­beth’s heir – a de­ci­sion that left the English queen fu­ri­ous.

Ar­ro­gant and vi­o­lent, Darn­ley in­fu­ri­ated Mary’s nobles as well. When Mary re­fused to grant her hus­band the Crown Mat­ri­mo­nial, thereby mak­ing him King of Scots, Darn­ley was blinded with rage. If she would not give him the crown, he would find a way to take it.

On 9 March 1566 Darn­ley burst into Mary’s pri­vate din­ing room with his sup­port­ers and stabbed her sec­re­tary and con­fi­dante, David Rizzio, to death. The bru­tal­ity was even more shock­ing since Mary, who wit­nessed the mur­der, was preg­nant with Darn­ley’s baby.

She gave birth to her son and heir, Prince James, just three months later.

Rizzio’s death was the be­gin­ning of the end for Darn­ley and in Fe­bru­ary 1567, he was found dead fol­low­ing an ex­plo­sion at Kirk o’ Field house in Ed­in­burgh.

Darn­ley’s body was dis­cov­ered in the or­chard and with no mark­ings to sug­gest that the blast had killed him, it was quickly agreed that he had been mur­dered. Soon enough, ac­cu­sa­tions were be­ing thrown at Mary that she had or­dered her hus­band’s as­sas­si­na­tion.

El­iz­a­beth im­plored Mary to find those re­spon­si­ble and clear her name.

There was a strong belief that the Earl of Both­well, a pow­er­ful noble with his own armed fol­low­ing, was re­spon­si­ble for Darn­ley’s mur­der and that he had been hav­ing an af­fair with Mary. Be­fore his trial, El­iz­a­beth wrote to her cousin in hope and warn­ing “that all the world may feel jus­ti­fied in be­liev­ing you in­no­cent of so enor­mous a crime, which, if you were not, would be food cause for de­grad­ing you from the rank of Princes…”.

Placed on trial in April, Both­well was ac­quit­ted of the mur­der due to lack of ev­i­dence, al­though many re­mained con­vinced of his guilt. It didn’t help that now Mary was a widow, Both­well was al­ready schem­ing to marry her. Trav­el­ling back to Ed­in­burgh after vis­it­ing her son in Stir­ling, the queen was in­ter­cepted by Both­well and his men. Claim­ing that her life was in dan­ger and that he would es­cort her to safety, Mary had no choice but to go with Both­well as his men left her out­num­bered.

What hap­pened next is still de­bated, but it is sug­gested that Both­well raped Mary to force her into mar­riage.

They were sub­se­quently mar­ried on the 15 May, just three months after Darn­ley’s un­timely demise. It was the fi­nal straw for Mary’s ex­as­per­ated nobles, who de­cided to re­move their em­bat­tled queen once and for all.

One month after their ill-fated wed­ding Mary and Both­well faced the nobles and their troops at Car­berry Hill. The queen bravely led her men into bat­tle but her sup­port soon dis­si­pated, and Mary agreed to sur­ren­der with Both­well flee­ing into ex­ile. Taken to Ed­in­burgh and then im­pris­oned in Loch Leven Cas­tle, Mary en­dured the agony of mis­car­ry­ing twins.

On 24 July 1567 Mary was of­fered a choice – ei­ther ab­di­cate or have her throat slit. Ter­ri­fied, Mary signed her ab­di­ca­tion in favour of her son James, who was just a year old, leav­ing her half­brother, the Earl of Mo­ray, as his re­gent.

When news of Mary’s ab­di­ca­tion reached El­iz­a­beth, she im­me­di­ately sent her am­bas­sador, Ni­cholas Throck­mor­ton, to Scot­land try and con­vince the re­bel­lious lords to re­store their queen, to no avail. After a year in cap­tiv­ity Mary es­caped from Loch Leven and fled across the bor­der to Eng­land in panic, be­liev­ing that El­iz­a­beth would help her re­gain the Scot­tish throne. It was a naïve de­ci­sion be­cause as soon as Mary set foot in Eng­land, Ce­cil be­gan plot­ting to get rid of her by any means nec­es­sary.

He had Mary im­me­di­ately placed un­der house ar­rest, first at Carlisle Cas­tle and then at Bolton Cas­tle where she re­mained for six months. De­spite these bleak cir­cum­stances Mary wrote to El­iz­a­beth beg­ging for a meet­ing to plead her case.

How­ever, El­iz­a­beth re­fused to meet un­til Mary had been proven in­no­cent of Darn­ley’s mur­der and sug­gested set­ting up a tri­bunal to in­ves­ti­gate the ac­cu­sa­tions made against her.

The tri­bunal be­gan in Oc­to­ber 1568 and the charges of adul­tery and mur­der were ex­am­ined. As ev­i­dence of Mary’s con­duct, Mo­ray sud­denly pro­duced the in­fa­mous Cas­ket Let­ters, which she had sup­pos­edly writ­ten to Both­well be­tween Jan­uary and April 1567.

The let­ters con­firmed the queen’s adul­ter­ous re­la­tion­ship and a plot to kill Darn­ley, mak­ing her look as guilty as sin.

Out­raged, Mary de­clared that the let­ters were forg­eries and as an anointed queen, she re­fused to be­lieve any court had the right to try her. As her com­mis­sion­ers were re­fused per­mis­sion

“It is al­leged that Both­well raped Mary to force her into mar­riage”

to look at the let­ters, Mary de­manded to per­son­ally ap­pear at the tri­bunal to plead her in­no­cence, but El­iz­a­beth re­fused her re­quest.

De­spite the let­ters, the case was ul­ti­mately deemed ‘not proven’ in Jan­uary 1569.

It was ex­actly what El­iz­a­beth wanted, since this ver­dict al­lowed her to avoid mak­ing a choice re­gard­ing her cousin’s fate.

In­ter­est­ingly, the queen’s fail­ure to in­ter­vene in the trial in­di­cates that she may have known that the Cas­ket Let­ters had been fab­ri­cated to con­demn Mary.

With Mary de­clared nei­ther guilty nor in­no­cent, El­iz­a­beth could keep her cousin un­der house ar­rest for as long as she wanted. She could also avoid re­ceiv­ing Mary at court to pre­vent up­set­ting her al­lies in Scot­land while at the same time, stop her cousin from see­ing those who would turn her into a fig­ure­head for Catholic plots against the crown.

These fears weren’t helped by the volatile sit­u­a­tion oc­cur­ring in Europe, with the coun­ter­refor­ma­tion tak­ing a hold in France with the Wars of Re­li­gion, as well as the Dutch Re­volt in the Low Coun­tries against King Philip II of Spain. The ri­valry be­tween Mary and El­iz­a­beth mir­rored this bat­tle be­tween Catholi­cism and Protes­tantism, turn­ing them into sym­bolic rep­re­sen­ta­tives for their re­spec­tive re­li­gions.

It would be easy to paint El­iz­a­beth as the evil queen who kept Mary im­pris­oned, but the truth is she sym­pa­thised with her cousin.

Though Mary was her ri­val, El­iz­a­beth knew ex­actly what it was like to be used by the op­po­si­tion, be­cause it had hap­pened to her just over a decade ear­lier, dur­ing the reign of her Catholic half-sis­ter Queen Mary I.

Em­broiled in Wy­att’s Re­bel­lion against

Mary in 1554, El­iz­a­beth al­most lost her head. Im­pris­oned in the Tower of Lon­don for two months, El­iz­a­beth failed to in­crim­i­nate her­self with her clever and eva­sive an­swers, to the dis­may of Mary and her ad­vi­sors.

With no hard ev­i­dence to con­demn her, El­iz­a­beth was re­leased and placed un­der house ar­rest for a year in Wood­stock, fol­lowed by a short re­turn to court to at­tend to Mary dur­ing her first phan­tom preg­nancy. Af­ter­wards, El­iz­a­beth re­treated to Hat­field House to es­cape court gos­sip and fur­ther im­pli­ca­tion in ma­li­cious plots, choos­ing to re­main there for the rest of Mary’s reign.

Com­ing so close to death had taught El­iz­a­beth that even with­out con­crete ev­i­dence, she was in con­stant dan­ger – just like her cousin – and that if Mary was to be con­demned, there had to be def­i­nite proof of her guilt.

Fol­low­ing the tri­bunal, Mary was placed in the cus­tody of the Earl of Shrews­bury and his wife, Bess of Hard­wick, at Tut­bury Cas­tle.

Al­though she was locked away, Mary still re­mained a threat to El­iz­a­beth’s throne. As a so­lu­tion, it was sug­gested that Mary should marry a loyal English no­ble­man in or­der to neu­tralise her power. In par­tic­u­lar, there was one man, Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Nor­folk, who was will­ing to marry the Scot­tish queen.

Nor­folk, the man who had led Mary’s tri­bunal, had been plot­ting to marry her for some time. The pro­posed mar­riage was sup­ported by a few lead­ing nobles, in­clud­ing Dudley, who hoped Mary would con­vert to Protes­tantism and be re­stored to her Scot­tish throne as an ally for Eng­land. Mary read­ily agreed to marry Nor­folk, hop­ing it would se­cure her free­dom.

The nobles had con­ducted the ne­go­ti­a­tions in se­cret, fear­ing the queen’s wrath.

When the scheme was dis­cov­ered, a fu­ri­ous El­iz­a­beth had Nor­folk thrown into the Tower of Lon­don in Oc­to­ber.

In a let­ter dated 31 Jan­uary 1570 Mary re­mained de­fi­ant, writ­ing, “You have promised to be mine, and I yours; I be­lieve the Queen of Eng­land and coun­try should like of it”.

In the mean­time, a Catholic plot to de­pose El­iz­a­beth and re­place her with Mary was un­der­way, known as the Ris­ing of the North. Led by the Earls of Northum­ber­land and West­more­land, they were ac­com­pa­nied by a to­tal of 6,000 rebels.

When news of the re­bel­lion broke, El­iz­a­beth moved Mary to Coven­try so the con­spir­a­tors couldn’t free her.

The ris­ing was crushed and many of the rebels fled to Scot­land, while an­other 600 to 800 of them were sent to the hang­man’s noose.

Nev­er­the­less, this re­bel­lion was the first upris­ing against the queen and it had left El­iz­a­beth shaken – she knew that Mary’s pres­ence was a threat, but now it had come to fruition.

The dan­ger to El­iz­a­beth’s life was high­lighted fur­ther after James Hamil­ton, whose fam­ily sup­ported Mary, as­sas­si­nated Mo­ray in

“If Mary was to be con­demned, there had to be def­i­nite proof of her guilt”

Lin­lith­gow on 23 Jan­uary 1570. Just a month later, Pope Pius V ex­com­mu­ni­cated El­iz­a­beth and de­clared her a heretic, adding that her Catholic sub­jects didn’t owe any obe­di­ence to her – call­ing El­iz­a­beth’s au­thor­ity into ques­tion.

In Au­gust, Nor­folk was re­leased from the Tower of Lon­don after ten months im­pris­on­ment.

As cal­cu­lat­ing as ever, Nor­folk quickly be­came in­volved in the Ri­dolfi plot to free Mary and de­pose El­iz­a­beth with the help of King Philip. Nor­folk and Mary would then marry and to­gether, be­gin a quest to re­store Catholi­cism across the realm.

Re­al­is­ing that it was in­creas­ingly un­likely that El­iz­a­beth would help her re­gain her throne, Mary had com­mu­ni­cated with Roberto Ri­dolfi, an Ital­ian who was leader of the con­spir­acy and in the em­ploy of the pope. He had trav­elled across Europe to garner sup­port for her cause, even vis­it­ing the Span­ish court to dis­cuss the de­tails with King Philip him­self.

How­ever, Ri­dolfi had con­fessed the plot to Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tus­cany, who sub­se­quently in­formed El­iz­a­beth.

With her spy net­work on high alert the plot was quickly un­cov­ered and Nor­folk’s treach­ery was quickly re­vealed after his ser­vants were in­ter­ro­gated. Dur­ing a raid on his home, sev­eral coded let­ters from Mary to Nor­folk were dis­cov­ered along with a cipher, which Ce­cil’s spies promptly used to de­code them.

Nor­folk and his con­spir­a­tors were ar­rested and de­spite his de­nial, the ev­i­dence was stacked against him. Mean­while in West­min­ster, Ce­cil rubbed his hands with glee be­liev­ing that he now had grounds to push for Mary’s ex­e­cu­tion.

Hop­ing to force El­iz­a­beth’s hand, he had the Cas­ket Let­ters pub­lished anony­mously just be­fore the con­ven­ing on the 1572 par­lia­ment to smear Mary’s rep­u­ta­tion.

In June 1572, Nor­folk lost his head after be­ing found guilty of high trea­son. Luck­ily for Mary, she hadn’t writ­ten any­thing in­crim­i­nat­ing in the let­ters and so she es­caped the con­se­quences for her in­volve­ment. She may have sur­vived but Mary’s role in the plot none­the­less dam­aged El­iz­a­beth’s opin­ion of her, with the queen re­al­is­ing that her ri­val may just be more than a fig­ure­head for the op­po­si­tion after all.

In spite of ev­ery­thing, Mary still hoped to se­cure a meet­ing with El­iz­a­beth.

Along with her numer­ous let­ters, she sent var­i­ous gifts to El­iz­a­beth in the hope of cap­tur­ing her at­ten­tion.

In 1574, Mary even hand­made a crim­son skirt with sil­ver needle­work for El­iz­a­beth, se­cur­ing the ma­te­ri­als from the French am­bas­sador in Lon­don and ask­ing him to present it to the queen for her. El­iz­a­beth was re­port­edly pleased with Mary’s gifts, yet she still ig­nored her pleas to meet. In 1583, the Throck­mor­ton Plot to de­pose El­iz­a­beth and re­place her with Mary, was suc­cess­fully foiled. In re­sponse, Ce­cil and Sir Fran­cis Wals­ing­ham, El­iz­a­beth’s spy­mas­ter and sec­re­tary of state, drafted the Bond of As­so­ci­a­tion. The bond was a pledge to de­fend the queen and pros­e­cute those who ei­ther at­tempted to as­sas­si­nate El­iz­a­beth or usurp her throne, whether they were suc­cess­ful or not.

Among the sig­na­to­ries was Mary, who agreed to sign the bond to demon­strate her loy­alty to her cousin. Un­for­tu­nately, cir­cum­stances beyond Mary’s con­trol deep­ened the di­vide be­tween her and El­iz­a­beth. In 1584, the Dutch Re­pub­lic’s Protes­tant ruler Wil­liam of Or­ange was as­sas­si­nated, height­en­ing the fears of El­iz­a­beth’s gov­ern­ment that her life was in im­mi­nent dan­ger.

Their an­swer was the Act for the Surety of the Queen’s Royal Per­son, signed in 1585, which al­lowed for any claimant to the throne to be tried for plots against El­iz­a­beth car­ried out in their name, re­gard­less of whether they were in­volved or not.

The act was the first step in creat­ing a le­git­i­mate, le­gal process that could be used to

“Mary’s role in the plot none­the­less dam­aged El­iz­a­beth’s opin­ion of her”

try Mary and po­ten­tially put her to death if she plot­ted against El­iz­a­beth.

It al­lowed El­iz­a­beth and her gov­ern­ment to re­move Mary from the line of suc­ces­sion, al­though the queen spec­i­fied that the act shouldn’t ex­clude the heirs of those found guilty of trea­son, un­less they were also in­volved. El­iz­a­beth was clearly think­ing about King James VI and the fu­ture of the English suc­ces­sion when she in­cluded this caveat. How­ever she wasn’t the only one think­ing about James, as Mary had to reach out to her son for help in ne­go­ti­at­ing her free­dom. Sadly, Mary’s hope was in vain.

In her ab­sence, James had been raised to be­lieve that she was an adul­terer who de­served to lose the crown and now that he was King of Scots, he had no de­sire to see her re­turn home.

Mary was crushed by her son’s re­jec­tion and to twist the knife fur­ther, James forged a new An­glo-scot­tish al­liance with El­iz­a­beth, sign­ing the Treaty of Ber­wick on the 6 July 1586. After al­most two decades of cap­tiv­ity, aban­doned by James and re­signed to the fact El­iz­a­beth would never help her, Mary was forced to ac­cept any sup­port that came her way.

It soon ar­rived in the form of a young English no­ble­man – An­thony Babing­ton. On the same day that the Treaty of Ber­wick was signed, Babing­ton wrote to Mary seek­ing ap­proval for his plot to free her from im­pris­on­ment while his ac­com­plices as­sas­si­nated El­iz­a­beth. Wait­ing 11 days be­fore choos­ing to re­ply, Mary of­fered no re­sis­tance to the “ac­com­plish­ing of their de­sign” and sug­gested that they would need for­eign help to se­cure her the English throne.

What Mary and Babing­ton didn’t re­alise was that Wals­ing­ham and his spy net­work had known about this plot for some time, wait­ing for con­crete ev­i­dence that would force El­iz­a­beth to fi­nally ex­e­cute her cousin. Send­ing in a dou­ble agent to in­fil­trate the plot, Wals­ing­ham en­sured that he could in­ter­cept Mary’s cor­re­spon­dence with Babing­ton, wait­ing for the mo­ment she would in­crim­i­nate her­self.

As Wals­ing­ham had hoped, Mary’s re­sponse to Babing­ton was ev­ery­thing he needed.

The mo­ment that El­iz­a­beth read the let­ter, her lin­ger­ing sym­pa­thies for Mary and her predica­ment fi­nally dis­ap­peared – it was the fi­nal, ul­ti­mate be­trayal.

With Babing­ton and his con­spir­a­tors rounded up by Wals­ing­ham, the queen de­cided to make an ex­am­ple of them to de­ter fu­ture plots against her life.

Hanged, drawn and quar­tered, Babing­ton and his men were bru­tally dis­em­bow­elled and forced to watch their en­trails burnt be­fore their very eyes be­fore they died.

Ar­rested in Au­gust and tried be­fore a spe­cial com­mis­sion, Mary was found guilty of trea­son on 25 Oc­to­ber 1586 de­spite her protes­ta­tions of in­no­cence.

While her ad­vi­sors clam­oured for Mary’s ex­e­cu­tion, El­iz­a­beth re­mained re­luc­tant to con­demn Mary, a fel­low anointed queen, to death, fear­ing ret­ri­bu­tion at God’s hands. After weeks of in­de­ci­sion, El­iz­a­beth suc­cumbed to the pres­sure and had Mary’s un­signed death war­rant drawn up on 4 De­cem­ber 1586. The fol­low­ing month, James wrote to El­iz­a­beth to ask for mercy on be­half of his mother but he didn’t threaten their al­liance, con­sid­er­ing his own po­si­tion as El­iz­a­beth’s likely heir.

On 1 Fe­bru­ary 1587, El­iz­a­beth fi­nally put her pen to pa­per and signed Mary’s death war­rant but left it un­sealed, or­der­ing her sec­re­tary and privy coun­cil mem­ber, Wil­liam Dav­i­son, not to send it. How­ever, Ce­cil, on the cusp of achiev­ing his long-awaited goal, ig­nored El­iz­a­beth’s wishes.

Seal­ing the war­rant, he sent it be­fore the queen had an op­por­tu­nity to change her mind.

Ex­actly one week later Mary was ex­e­cuted at Fother­in­hay Cas­tle.

Her dig­ni­fied com­po­sure, clasp­ing a prayer book and a rosary, trans­formed Mary into a Catholic mar­tyr.

Upon hear­ing the news, El­iz­a­beth flew into a rage. Plac­ing the blame squarely at the feet of her coun­cil, she ban­ished Ce­cil from the court for weeks and threw Dav­i­son in the Tower for hand­ing over the war­rant with­out her con­sent.

El­iz­a­beth wrote a plead­ing let­ter to James and protested her in­no­cence in Mary’s death. James ac­cepted El­iz­a­beth’s ver­sion, with his path to the English throne clearer now that his mother was gone. For the rest of her life, El­iz­a­beth could never es­cape the mem­ory of her cousin and it was said that Mary’s ghost con­tin­ued to haunt her for un­til the end of her days – even on her deathbed El­iz­a­beth sup­pos­edly ut­tered her cousin’s name. Al­though Mary lost her bat­tle against El­iz­a­beth, in the end she won the war with James’s ac­ces­sion to the English throne.

While await­ing her ex­e­cu­tion, Mary fa­mously em­broi­dered the phrase ‘In my end is my be­gin­ning’, a prophecy that has come true – her ri­valry with El­iz­a­beth has en­sured that she will al­ways be re­mem­bered, en­tan­gled in a bit­ter fight to the end.

“El­iz­a­beth fi­nally put her pen to pa­per and signed Mary’s death war­rant”

Ce­cil and Wals­ing­ham were de­ter­mined to find a way to trap Mary

Mary pic­tured with her first hus­band, King Fran­cis II of France David Rizzio stabbed to death in front of Mary while she was preg­nant with her son James

The ru­ins of Loch Leven Cas­tle, where Mary was im­pris­oned Mary, Queen of Scots es­capes from Loch Leven Cas­tle Mary’s trial for her in­volve­ment in the Babing­ton Plot

A por­trait of Mary in cap­tiv­ity Mary’s death fi­nally brought an end to her bit­ter ri­valry El­iz­a­beth

Mary tire­lessly sent let­ters to El­iz­a­beth dur­ing her im­pris­on­ment Mary was forced to ab­di­cate the throne in favour of her son

Mary’s fi­nal mo­ments as she is led to her ex­e­cu­tion Mary’s death mask

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