The Tudor Society
  • Elizabeth I and the fall of Mary, Queen of Scots Part 2

    In today’s Claire chats I continue my examination of the fall of Mary, Queen of Scots, by looking at the controversy surrounding the death warrant and examining the Bond of Association and the Act for the Queen’s Safety.

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  • 8 February 1587 – Mary, Queen of Scots is executed at Fotheringhay

    On this day in history, Wednesday 8th February, Mary, Queen of Scots was executed at Fotheringhay Castle, following the arrival of her death warrant at the castle the day before.

    Mary had been tried in October 1586 for her involvement in the Babington Plot, a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I, and had been found guilty. Elizabeth I put off signing her death warrant, struggling with the idea of killing an anointed monarch, but finally signed the warrant on 1st February 1587, although Elizabeth claimed later that she ordered her secretary, William Davison, not to do anything with it for the time being. As I mentioned in my article on the death warrant, Elizabeth’s Privy Council met and agreed to send the warrant to Fotheringhay without the Queen’s knowledge. It is impossible to know exactly what happened. Did Davison misunderstand the Queen’s instructions and intentions? Probably not. Some historians believe that William Cecil, Lord Burghley, chose Davison to be a scapegoat because he realised that Elizabeth needed someone to take the responsibility for Mary’s death away from her, but others believe that it was Elizabeth who chose Davison as the scapegoat.

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  • Elizabeth I and the fall of Mary, Queen of Scots

    In this week’s Claire Chats I start a two part series on Elizabeth I and the fall of Mary, Queen of Scots. Today, I focus on what led to Mary, Queen of Scots’ execution and next week I will examine the controversy surrounding her death warrant.

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  • Bloody Queens: Elizabeth and Mary TV programme

    The BBC2 programme on Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots, featuring historians and authors like John Guy, Jessie Childs, Tracy Borman, Lisa Hilton and the late Jenny Wormald.

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  • Bloody Queens: Elizabeth and Mary

    If you’re in the UK or have access to the UK’s BBC2 then make sure that you catch this programme on BBC2 today (1st February 2016) at 9pm. Here’s the blurb from the BBC:

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  • 1 February 1587 – Elizabeth I signs the death warrant of Mary, Queen of Scots

    On this day in history, 1st February 1587, Elizabeth I called her secretary, William Davison, to her and asked him to bring her Mary, Queen of Scots’s death warrant. She then signed it.

    Mary, Queen of Scots, had been tried in October 1586 for her involvement in the Babington Plot, a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I. 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 25th October the commission reconvened and found Mary guilty. On 29th October, Parliament met to discuss Mary, 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.

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  • 14 October 1586 – Trial of Mary, Queen of Scots

    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:

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  • Transcript of Gareth Russell Live chat – end of Tudor era

    Here is the transcript of our chat session with Gareth Russell on Friday. The session was very wide ranging in its topics and I think we all learned a lot from Gareth’s knowledge.

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  • 24 July 1567 – The Abdication of Mary, Queen of Scots

    On 24th July 1567, Mary, Queen of Scots, who was imprisoned at Lochleven Castle and who had recently suffered a miscarriage, was forced to abdicate. The Scottish crown was passed on to her one year-old son, James, who became James VI of Scotland, with his uncle, Mary’s illegitimate half brother, James Stewart, Earl of Moray, acting as regent.

    Claude Nau de la Boisseliere, Mary’s private secretary, recorded this event in his memoirs, which were translated from French into English as The History of Mary Stewart: From the Murder of Riccio Until Her Flight Into England:

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  • The Casket Letters

    On 20th June 1567, a few days after Scottish rebels apprehended Mary, Queen of Scots, servants of James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton, allegedly found a silver casket of eight letters, two marriage contracts (which apparently proved that Mary had agreed to marry Bothwell before his divorce) and twelve sonnets. The casket was found in the possession of James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell and third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots.

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  • Mary Queen of Scots

    Mary, Queen of Scots, was born at Linlithgow Palace in Scotland on 8th December 1542. She was the daughter of James V of Scotland and his second wife, Mary of Guise, and the granddaughter of Margaret Tudor (Henry VIII’s sister) and James IV of Scotland. On the 14th December, when she was just six days old, Mary became Queen of Scotland after her father died of a fever. She was crowned Queen on 9th September 1543 at Stirling Castle. As Mary was a baby, James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Arran, acted as regent until 1554 when he surrendered the regency to Mary’s mother, Mary of Guise, who acted as regent until her death in 1560.

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  • The Last Days of Mary Queen of Scots

    A six part series called “The Last Days of Mary Queen of Scots” starts this Thursday on Channel 5 in the UK. Here is the blurb from the Radio Times:

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  • 10 February 1567 – The Murder of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley

    On this day in history, the 10th February 1567, Lord Darnley was murdered at Kirk o’ Field, Edinburgh, in the Royal Mile, just a few hundred yards from Holyrood House where his wife, Mary Queen of Scots, and baby son, the future James VI/I, were staying.

    Henry, Lord Darnley, had been lodging at Kirk o’ Field while convalescing after contracting either syphilis or smallpox. What he didn’t know was that while he had been recovering his enemies had been filling the cellars of the house with gunpowder.

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  • Mary, Queen of Scots Letter

    The last letter of Mary, Queen of Scots.

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  • 8 February 1587 – The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots: A Primary Source Account

    This primary source account of the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots is from Original letters, illustrative of English history; with notes and illustrations, Second Series, Volume III, ed. Henry Ellis (p113-118). Ellis notes that “the present narrative is from the Lansdowne MS. 51. art. 46. It is indorsed in Lord Burghley’s hand, “8 Feb. 1586. The Manner of the Q. of Scotts death at Fodrynghay, wr. by Ro. Wy.””

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  • Tudor Life January 2015

    New Year Magazine with a huge 70 pages of Tudor madness!

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  • Chatroom Transcript from Linda Porter’s Expert Talk

    Here’s the transcript/screen capture from the live chat with Linda Porter last night. There’s lots to read on this transcript and we had a fantastic time, Our thanks goes to Linda Porter for her expert talk and the time she spent in the chatroom.

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  • Linda Porter Talk – 3 Tudor Queens

    Our December talk is by Linda Porter, author of “Crown of Thistles: The Fatal Inheritance of Mary, Queen of Scots”. In this talk, Linda looks at the lives of three queens of England – Katherine Parr, Mary I and Mary, Queen of Scots.

    The live chat will be on Monday 15th December at 7:30pm UK Time (That’s 2:30pm Eastern time/11:30am Pacific time/8:30pm Central European Time).

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