Mary, Queen of Scots is executed
From birth to execution, Mary Queen of Scots was the archetypal tragic monarch. The daughter of King James V and Marie de Guise was queen at a time when the sea of change in Scotland’s politics was no more reversible than the incoming tide.
Mary was born on the 8th December, 1542, in Linlithgow Palace to the disappointment of James V – she was not the son he’d wished for. Although the Stewart succession did not end with Mary – Queen Anne ’s death in 1714 saw to that – after the ill-fortune that befell Mary, and her son James VI ’s unhappy childhood, some may wish that it had.
The most surprising aspect of the death of Mary Queen of Scots was that it had not come earlier. She had been involved in or aware of various plots against her cousin Elizabeth I since her foolish flight to England; and was a potential rallying point and figurehead for Catholic opposition there.
Tried and found guilty of treason against Elizabeth for her part, real or fabricated, in the Babington Plot, Mary was sentenced to death. For Elizabeth a convenient accident to Mary was more attractive, avoiding the symbolism of a royal execution and ramifications which included providing Philip of Spain with another reason for attacking England. Such a course of action proved impossible, and so Elizabeth signed the death warrant.
On the afternoon of February 7th 1587 Elizabeth's representatives arrived at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire where Mary was being held prisoner. Without ceremony she was told her execution would take place the next morning, between 7 and 8 am.
Though hastily arranged the execution nevertheless took place before a large crowd in Fotheringhay's great hall. Denied her own priest Mary refused a Protestant parson, and insisted on holding her cross in her hands. The scaffold had been prepared with five steps leading up to it; a cushion for the condemned woman to kneel on; and according to some accounts an axe that normally served in a butchery for the fatal blow - or blows as it turned out, for it took two or by some accounts three strikes of the weapon to sever Mary's head from her scarlet-clad body. Stories or perhaps myths concerning the execution say Mary's little dog supposedly emerged from beneath her voluminous skirts upon her death; the botched axe-work was deliberate to inflict suffering on the victim; and her hair had either turned white with her woes, or fallen out entirely, revealed when the executioner attempted to lift her severed head for all to see and only grasped a wig.
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From jacquline smith on 24th January 2014
I love history and all about mary queen 0f scots , could you tell me is there any events going on on the 8th of febuary this year the date when marys execution took place thank-you
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