The Tudor Society
  • 14 October – Strong teeth save a man and the trial of Mary, Queen of Scots begins

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th October 1565, diplomat and poet, Sir Thomas Chaloner the Elder, died at his home in Clerkenwell, London. He was just forty-four years old. He’d served four Tudor monarchs as a diplomat, but he also wrote English and Latin works.

    Find out more about Thomas Chaloner, his life, his career, and how his teeth saved him from death…

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  • 26 September – Mary, Queen of Scots’ gaoler and Sir Francis Drake

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th September 1588, Sir Amias (Amyas) Paulet, administrator, diplomat, Governor of Jersey and gaoler of Mary, Queen of Scots died. He was buried in St Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster.

    Sir Amias Paulet acted as gaoler to Mary, Queen of Scots, and it was while he was doing this that Elizabeth wanted him to abide by the Bond of Association and assassinate Mary, Queen of Scots, so that she didn’t have to sign her death warrant.

    What was the Bond of Association and what did Paulet do?

    Find out…

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  • Expert answer – What does “round machine” refer to in this quote?

    Thank you to Tudor Society member Stephanie for asking this question about something written by Estienne Perlin with regards to Mary, Queen of Scot, France and Scotland. Stephanie asks:

    “In the following quote do you know what the ’round machine” refers to:

    “How happy oughtest thou to esteem thyself, O kingdom of Scotland, to be favoured, fed and maintained like an infant, on the breast of the host magnanimous King of France, the greatest lord in the whole world, and the future monarch of the round machine, for without him thou wouldn’st have been laid in ashes, they country wasted and ruined by the English, utterly accursed by God.”

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  • 11 September – Edward VI’s good friend and a royal progress for Mary, Queen of Scots

    On this day in Tudor history, 11th September 1581, Barnaby Fitzpatrick, 2nd Baron of Upper Ossory, died in Dublin, at the home of surgeon, William Kelly.

    In his youth, Fitzpatrick had been friends with Prince Edward (the future Edward VI) and had been educated with him. Historians once believed him to have been the young king's "whipping boy". He went on to serve Edward as a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber when Edward became kin, but ended his days as a prisoner.

    Find out more about Barnaby Fitzpatrick, his life and career, and how he came to such a sad end...

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  • 19 August – A defiant Mary I and the return of Mary, Queen of Scots

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th August 1551, Princess Mary, the future Mary I, wrote to her half-brother King Edward VI regarding orders that he had sent, orders that she was not going to obey.

    As historian Henry Ellis noted, this letter is evidence of Mary’s talent at writing and her intellect, and it also shows just how stubborn she could be. But then Edward was stubborn too! He wasn’t going to let his sister defy him but she wasn’t going to obey him and compromise her faith – oh dear!

    Find out more about the situation, and hear Mary’s words to Edward…

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  • Mary, Queen of Scots BRAND NEW COURSE with Claire Ridgway

    I’m just putting the finishing touches to a course I’ve written for MedievalCourses.com on the fascinating 16th-century queen, Mary, Queen of Scots.

    The course goes live on 1st September 2021, but you can pre-order it right now and save $25 with coupon code MQS2021 by going to…

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  • John Guy – Mary, Queen of Scots – A talk from 2012

    In going through our resources, we came across this wonderful recording of John Guy talking about Mary, Queen of Scots. This was recorded on the Executed Queens tour of 2012.

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  • Celebrate Summer with Mary and Elizabeth

    Today is the first day of Summer! For the occasion we chose two special events that took place in the Summer in the Tudor era. 

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  • 19 June – Mary, Queen of Scots gives birth to a son called Charles

    On this day in Tudor history, on 19th June 1566, in Scotland, Mary, Queen of Scots gave birth to a baby boy who would grow up to be King James VI of Scotland and King James I of England. He was baptised Charles James though.

    Find out more…

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  • 14 May – The Creeping Parliament

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th May 1571, the “Creeping Parliament” was held in Edinburgh, Scotland.

    Why was it called the “Creeping Parliament” and why were there actually two Parliaments meeting?

    What was going on and what happened next?

    Find out more…

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  • Watch: Mary Queen of Scots’ life in Edinburgh

    On this day in history Mary Queen of Scots was executed. 434 years ago, early in the morning, Mary was taken from her prison cell to the place of execution at Fotheringhay castle. To commemorate this day, we will be sharing a documentary that was made back in 2019 about her life in Edinburgh. For the first time it is now available for all to enjoy. 

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  • 14 December – Mary, Queen of Scots is queen!

    On this day in Tudor history, 14th December 1542, six-day-old Mary, daughter of King James V and his second wife, Marie de Guise, became Queen of Scotland – Mary, Queen of Scots.

    King James V, who had ruled since 1513, was just 30 at his death.

    Find out what happened to James V, and how Mary became queen at such a young age, in today’s talk.

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  • 5 December – Mary Queen of Scots’ husband dies of an ear infection

    On this day in Tudor history, 5th December 1560, King Francis II of France, died at the age of just 15. Francis was King Consort of Scotland, as the husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, and his father had also proclaimed him and Mary as King and Queen of England back in 1558!

    He was taken ill in mid-November with what appears to have been an ear infection, and it led to him dying on this day in history. His death led to Mary, Queen of Scots, returning to her homeland of Scotland, a country she hadn’t seen for 13 years.

    Find out more about Francis II of France, his marriage to Mary, Queen of Scots, his death and what happened next, in today’s talk.

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  • 2 December – Elizabeth I relents and agrees to execute Mary, Queen of Scots

    On this day in Tudor history, 2nd December 1586, following a joint petition from the Houses of Lords and Commons, Elizabeth I finally agreed to a public proclamation of sentence against Mary, Queen of Scots: death.

    Mary had been found guilty of high treason back in October 1586, but Elizabeth had not wanted to contemplate regicide. However, Parliament believed that if Mary, Queen of Scots, was not executed, that she’d continue to plot against Elizabeth and would utterly “ruinate and overthrow the happy State and Common Weal of this most Noble Realm”. She was too much of a danger and needed dealing with once and for all.

    Find out what Parliament said and what happened next in today’s talk.

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  • 9 November – The Northern Rebellion against Elizabeth I

    This day in Tudor history, 9th November 1569, is the traditional date given for the start of the only major armed rebellion of Elizabeth I’s reign. It’s known as The Northern Rebellion or Rising of the North or Revolt of the Northern Earls.

    Northern earls Charles Neville, 6th Earl of Westmorland and Thomas Percy, 7th Earl of Northumberland, led this uprising against Elizabeth I, seeking to depose her, replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots, and restore Catholicism.

    But what happened?

    Find out about the 1569 Northern Rebellion and the fate of the Northern Earls in today’s talk.

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  • 26 September – The man Elizabeth I wanted to murder Mary, Queen of Scots

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th September 1588, Sir Amias (Amyas) Paulet, administrator, diplomat, Governor of Jersey and gaoler of Mary, Queen of Scots died. He was buried in St Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster.

    Sir Amias Paulet acted as gaoler to Mary, Queen of Scots, and it was while he was doing this that Elizabeth wanted him to abide by the Bond of Association and assassinate Mary, Queen of Scots, so that she didn’t have to sign her death warrant.

    What was the Bond of Association and what did Paulet do?

    Find out in today’s talk…

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  • 20 September – Anthony Babington and the Babington Plot

    On this day in Tudor history, 20th September 1586, Anthony Babington, John Ballard, John Savage, Chidiock Tichborne and three other conspirators were executed near St Giles-in-the-Fields in London.

    They suffered full traitors’ deaths, being hanged, drawn and quartered, after being found guilty of treason for plotting to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I in the famous Babington Plot, which sought to replace Elizabeth with Mary, Queen of Scots.

    Find out more about Anthony Babington, the Babington Plot, the men involved, how it was discovered, and how it led to Mary, Queen of Scots’ execution, in today’s talk.

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  • 12 September – The newly married Earl of Argyll dies suddenly

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th September 1573, Protestant reformer, and leading politician in the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots, Archibald Campbell, 5th Earl of Argyll, died suddenly at Barbreck. He had got married six weeks earlier and had shown no signs of illness before retiring to bed.

    Argyll was the third most important noble in Scotland, the most important highland chief, and a founder of the Lords of the Congregation. He went from opposing Mary, Queen of Scots, to leading her troops in battle.

    Why?

    Find out all about this interesting Scot’s life and career in today’s talk.

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  • 9 September – The coronation of Mary, Queen of Scots

    On this day in Tudor history, 9th September 1543, the 30th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden, Mary, Queen of Scots, was crowned queen at the Chapel Royal of Stirling Castle. Mary was just nine months old.

    Find out more about how Mary came to the throne, her coronation ceremony, in which Mary howled, and how she was already promised in marriage to Henry VIII’s son, the future Edward VI, in today’s talk.

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  • 7 August – Mary, Queen of Scots sets off for a new life in France

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th August 1548, five-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots set sail from Dumbarton in Scotland bound for France.

    A marriage had been agreed between Mary and Francis, the Dauphin, so Mary was going to be brought up at the French court. Mary travelled with her maids of honour, the Four Marys, or the Queen’s Maries: Mary Fleming, Mary Beaton, Mary Seton and Mary Livingston.

    Find out more in today’s talk.

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  • 23 July – Baby Mary, Queen of Scots, escapes with her mother

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd July 1543, or 24th according to some sources, Marie de Guise and her baby daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots, escaped from Linlithgow Palace, helped by Cardinal David Beaton, and taken to Stirling Castle.

    Why? What was going on in Scotland at this time?

    Find out all about Mary’s early months as Queen of Scots, and why Beaton helped her and her mother to move to Stirling, in today’s talk.

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  • 17 June – Mary, Queen of Scots is imprisoned in Scotland

    On this day in Tudor history, 17th June 1567, Mary, Queen of Scots, was imprisoned at Loch Leven Castle following her surrender at the Battle of Carberry Hill on 15th June.

    Sadly, while she was imprisoned there, she miscarried twins and was forced to abdicate. She eventually escaped, but her freedom was only temporary.

    Find out more about this time in Mary, Queen of Scots’ life in today’s talk.

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  • 13 May – A battle between Mary, Queen of Scots, and her half-brother

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th May 1568, the forces of Mary, Queen of Scots, met those of her brother, the Regent Moray, at the Battle of Langside in Scotland.

    Mary, Queen of Scots was defeated soundly, but what happened and why was she fighting against the regent acting on behalf of her son, King James VI? What had led to this moment.

    I explain all in today’s talk.

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  • 7 May – The wife Bothwell divorced to marry Mary, Queen of Scots

    On 7th May 1567, eight days before James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, married Mary, Queen of Scots, the Catholic court granted him a divorce from his wife, Lady Jean Gordon.

    Who was Jean Gordon? Why did Bothwell divorce her? And what happened to Jean afterwards?

    Find out more about Bothwell and Jean’s marriage, and about Jean’s life, in today’s talk.

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  • 29 April – Bothwell prepares to marry Mary, Queen of Scots

    On this day in Tudor history, 29th April 1567 (some sources suggest 26th), James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, who had recently abducted and allegedly “ravished” Mary, Queen of Scots, had a suit of divorce made against him by his wife, Lady Jean Gordon.

    Lady Gordon was persuaded by Bothwell to make this divorce suit as he was planning to marry Mary, Queen of Scots, which he did on 15th May 1567.

    In this talk, I explain what led up to this day, what happened next, and also what a truly horrible man Bothwell was.

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  • 19 April – Mary, Queen of Scots gets betrothed

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th April 1558, fifteen-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots and fourteen-year-old Francis, the Dauphin, son of King Henry II of France, were formally betrothed at the Louvre Palace in Paris.

    This betrothal was just five days before their wedding and was a lavish affair, celebrated with a ball.

    Find out more about the betrothal, the bride and groom, and arrangements for their marriage, in today’s talk.

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  • 17 February – Love at first sight for Mary, Queen of Scots?

    Well, ok, perhaps love at second or third sight!

    On this day in Tudor history, Saturday 17th February 1565, Mary, Queen of Scots, met and fell in love with Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, at Wemyss Castle in Scotland. Just over 7 months later, the couple got married.

    Find out more about the background of this meeting between Mary, Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley, Mary’s thoughts on Darnley, and what happened next, in today’s talk.

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  • 1 February – Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots’ death warrant

    On this day in Tudor history, 1st February 1587, Queen Elizabeth I called her secretary, William Davison, to her and asked him to bring her the death warrant of Mary, Queen of Scots. She then signed it. However, she didn’t want it to be sent to Fotheringhay, where Mary was held, until she said so. But it was sent.

    Elizabeth wanted someone else to take responsibility for Mary’s death, she even wanted her gaoler to assassinate her!

    Find out all about this, and how Mary DID end up being executed in February 1587, in today’s talk.

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  • 8 December – The birth of Mary, Queen of Scots

    On this day in Tudor history, 8th December 1542, Mary Stuart (Stewart), or Mary, Queen of Scots, was born at Linlithgow Palace in Scotland.

    Mary was the daughter of King James V of Scotland and his second wife, Marie de Guise, and she became Queen of Scotland when she was just six days old.

    Find out about the life of Mary, Queen of Scots, including her three marriages and abdication, her imprisonment and downfall in today’s talk.

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  • 7 December – Lord Darnley, husband of Mary, Queen of Scots

    Today, 7th December, is the traditional date given for the birth of Henry Stuart (Stewart), Duke of Albany and Lord Darnley, in 1545.

    Lord Darnley was the son of Margaret Douglas and grandson of Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland, and her second husband, Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus, but he is more known as the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots.

    Find out about Lord Darnley’s rather colourful life, his unhappy marriage, his role in a murder, AND his own sticky end, in today’s talk.

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