The Tudor Society

Mary, Queen of Scots Letter

MaryQueenofScotsYou can see a photograph and read a transcript of a letter written by Mary, Queen of Scots to Henri III of France in the early hours of the day she was executed at

It was the last letter she wrote.

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  1. L

    Mary was also a accomplised Poet. Mostly written in French, she wrote many Poems whilst in England. This is perhaps one of her last poems that she wrote in Fotheringay, shortly before her execution.
    Alas what am I? What use has my life?
    I am but a body whose heart’s torn away,
    A vain shadow, an object of misery
    Who has nothing left but death-in-life.
    O my enemies, set your envy all aside;
    I’ve no more eagerness for high domain;
    I’ve borne too long the burden of my pain
    To see your anger swiftly satisfied.
    And you, my friends who have loved me so true,
    Remember, lacking health and heart and peace,
    There is nothing worthwhile that I can do;
    Ask only that my misery should cease
    And that, being punished in a world like this,
    I have my portion in eternal bliss.
    and this is the letter she wrote to Elizabeth when she knew that she was to die.
    Now having been informed, on your part, of the sentence passed in the last session of your Parliament, and admonished by Lord Beale to prepare myself for the end of my long and weary pilgrimage, I prayed them to return my thanks to you for such agreeable intelligence, and to ask you to grant some things for the relief of my conscience.

    I will not accuse any person, but sincerely pardon every one, as I desire others, and, above all, God, to pardon me. And since I know that your heart, more than that of any other, ought to be touched by the honour or dishonour of your own blood, and of a Queen, the daughter of a king, I require you, Madam, for the sake of Jesus, that after my enemies have satisfied their black thirst for my innocent blood, you will permit my poor disconsolate servants to remove my corpse, that it may be buried in holy ground, with my ancestors in France, especially the late Queen my mother, since in Scotland the remains of the Kings my predecessors have been outraged, and the churches torn down and profaned.

    As I shall suffer in this country, I shall not be allowed a place near your ancestors, who are also mine, and persons of my religion think much of being interred in consecrated earth. I trust you will not refuse this last request I have preferred to you, and allow, at least, free sepulture to this body when the soul shall be separated from it, which never could obtain, while united, liberty to dwell in peace.

    Dreading the secret tyranny of some of those to whom you have abandoned me, I entreat you to prevent me from being dispatched secretly, without your knowledge, not from fear of the pain, which I am ready to suffer, but on account of the reports they would circulate after my death. It is therefore that I desire my servants to remain witnesses and attestators of my end, my faith in my Saviour, and obedience to His church. This I require of you in the name of Jesus Christ in respect to our consanguinity, for the sake of King Henry VII, your great-grandfather and mine, for the dignity we have both held, and for the sex to which we both belong.

    I beseech the God of mercy and justice to enlighten you with His holy Spirit, and to give me the grace to die in perfect charity, as I endeavour to do, pardoning my death to all those who have either caused or cooperated in it; and this will be my prayer to the end.

    Accuse me not of presumption if, leaving this world and preparing myself for a better, I remind you will one day to give account of your charge, in like manner as those who preceded you in it, and that my blood and the misery of my country will be remembered, wherefor from the earliest dawn of your comprehension we ought to dispose our minds to make things temporal yield to those of eternity.

    Your sister and cousin wrongfully a prisoner,

  2. E

    What an incredible letter. I never saw this letter before. Much mahalo

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Mary, Queen of Scots Letter