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Mary Stuart, the tragic queen of Scotland

Posted in Historical articles, History, Royalty, Scotland on Thursday, 9 May 2013

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This edited article about Mary, Queen of Scots originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 248 published on 15 October 1966.

Mary Stuart, picture, image, illustration

Mary, Queen of Scots by C L Doughty

Beautiful, talented and headstrong, Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, was a centre of political attention. Queen Elizabeth I had no children and, by descent, Mary had a strong claim to the crown of England: Scottish and Catholic, Mary played the part of both rival and heir to England’s Protestant throne.

Fleeing from Scotland after abdicating in favour of her infant son, James, Mary fell into the hands of Elizabeth in 1568, and remained a prisoner in England for 19 years. Her position was intolerable for, like a magnet, she attracted enemies plotting against Elizabeth.

Not until war with Catholic Spain made Mary the positive, Catholic candidate for Elizabeth’s throne, were plans laid for trapping her in treasonable activities. In June, 1586, she was found corresponding with a man called Anthony Babington, who, with a number of accomplices, planned to assassinate Elizabeth and put Mary on the throne. Babington and his friends were arrested and executed, and on 14th October, 1586, Mary was brought to trial before a Commission.

Mary was allowed no help in conducting her defence, nor was she allowed to see the originals of the letters which were used in evidence against her. If these were genuine, then her guilt is certain. She claimed that they were forgeries.

The trial was transferred to Westminster where judgment was given against the Scottish queen in her absence, and Mary, Queen of Scots was beheaded at Fotheringay on 8th February, 1587.

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