Tag Archives: Mary Stuart

Death Mask #2 of Mary Queen of Scots

Painted Death Mask

On the right is another death mask of Mary Queen of Scots. This one is very unusual because it has been painted and dressed with a wig. Mary was noted for her remarkable beauty. She had red hair and was almost six feet tall, extremely tall for the time. Mary was only 42 when she was executed on the order of her older cousin, Queen Elizabeth Tudor of England. Elizabeth was rumored to have said that Mary won in the end because Mary had a son who would inherit both the thrones of Scotland and England while Elizabeth had never married. Tomorrow, The Price of Treason. Rita Bay

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Betrayal & Execution: Mary Queen of Scots

DeathMaskInstead of a refuge in England, Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, found a prison. Her older cousin, Elizabeth Tudor, the Queen of England, did not trust her to live peaceably in England. Mary was a Catholic and there were still Catholics in England who wanted to see a Catholic on the throne. While in her prison, Mary was involved in two conspiracies-both of which failed. The Ridolfi plot in 1570 involved a conspiracy with Spain who would provide soldiers to place Mary on the English throne. In the Babington Plot of 1584, Mary conspired with Catholics in the assassination of Elizabeth which would have placed her on the throne. Mary was found guilty and sentenced to beheading. Elizabeth signed the warrant but refused to allow the execution. Her counselors, with the tacit approval of Mary’s own son, authorized the execution. Elizabeth was furious but helpless to do anything.

February 8th is the anniversary of Mary’s death. She died well dressed in a bright red chemise in 1587. When the executioner lifted her decapitated head for all to see, her head detached from her wig and went rolling across the platform. Her bloody voluminous gown started moving around to the chagrin of all, until her little dog popped out from his hiding place beneath her skirts. After he was crowned King of England, Mary’s son James who had not seen his mother since infancy moved her body to Westminster Abbey and interred her next to Elizabeth. The picture above is a death mask made soon after her death. More tomorrow, Rita Bay.

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Mary, Queen of Scots, Traitor?

220px-Mary_Stuart_QueenMary Stuart (1542 – 1587) inherited the Scottish throne in 1542 at the death of father when she was six days old. While Scotland was ruled by regents, Mary was betrothed to the heir to the French throne. They married young but, unfortunately, Francis died the following year. After the death of Queen Mary Tudor of England, Mary Stuart claimed the English throne, denying Elizabeth’s right to inherit. Mary, as the granddaughter of Henry VIII’s sister, had a strong claim to the English throne.

The Scottish Queen Mary married seventeen-year-old Henry, Lord Darnley, a cousin also descended from the English royal family. He was a poor husband with vile habits and he and his friends eventually murdered Mary’s secretary, David Rizzio, in front of her while she was pregnant. When she delivered her son, James, Mary and Henry were estranged. Mary was suspected of being party to planning his death. Having escaped a poisoning attempt, he managed to survive the explosion of the Kirk o Fields where he was residing. Henry’s body was found outside—he’d been strangled.

Mary allied herself with James Hepburn, Lord Bothwell, who was probably behind Henry’s murder. She married Bothwell but, when the Scottish nobles turned against them, he fled leaving her a captive of the Scots. She miscarried twins and escaped to England looking for refuge. She found another prison that would hold her for 20 years. More about Mary tomorrow, Rita Bay

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