Key Stage 3 History: The Tudors: 7: Elizabeth I – Cousins at War

In today’s Key Stage 3 History blog an Oxford Home Schooling tutor looks at the life of Mary Queen of Scots.

One of my most unhappy moments as Queen was caused by my own cousin. She behaved in the most appalling way! It makes my blood boil just thinking about her treachery! My own cousin! I’m talking, of course, about Mary, Queen of Scots.

There was part of me that felt sorry for her. She had a very troubled past – unlucky in love. Her first husband was a weak little thing. She was still a teenager when he died. She then married a man called Darnley. He was a horrible man! An alcoholic. He used to get in fights all the time. He was killed in a house fire. Mary always denied any involvement in it, but I have my doubts. Darnley treated her badly and she was in love with another man, Bothwell. There has been talk that they planned Darnley’s death so they could marry.

Anyway, whilst all this was going on, Mary was Queen of Scotland. They really didn’t like her. In fact they hated her so much that she had to leave the country! Her little baby, James, became King, poor little mite.

Mary asked me for help. I honestly didn’t know what to do. She was my cousin and a fellow Queen so I felt it was my duty to help her, to offer my protection. But on the other hand, she was a Catholic. My advisers kept saying to me, “Majesty, what if she is part of a Catholic plot to overthrow you?” They seemed to be worried that the Catholics were using her to get close to me so that they could take my throne.

So I did the only thing I could. I offered her protection in one of my castles – but I made it into a prison. Oh, she lived in all the luxury a Queen could expect, but she was constantly watched, all her post read. I took no chances.

Twenty years we carried on like that. But then the rumour mill started up again. Catholic plots to overthrow me were being uncovered. And then Mary’s name kept coming up. Eventually, one of my closest advisers, Walsingham, found evidence that Mary was directly involved in one of the plots.

I had no choice. I had her executed. I didn’t want to but no one challenges me and gets away with it.

Penny Brooks


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