How did MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS DIE | Famous royal executions | How did Mary Stuart die. History Calling
Published on Oct 13, 2021
If you’ve ever wondered how did MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS DIE, then this is the video for you. In this latest offering from History Calling we go back to Fotheringhay Castle in February 1587 to look at one of the most famous royal executions in history, the death of Mary Queen of Scots.
The death of Mary Stuart came about after she was found guilty of involvement in the Babington Plot to overthrow and assassinate Elizabeth Tudor and take her throne. Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots had always had a difficult relationship and Mary had been a prisoner Queen in England for 19 years by 1587, yet Elizabeth hesitated to sign the death warrant, not wanting to set the precedent of executing an anointed monarch and her own cousin. Finally however, she did and it was taken to Fotheringhay, seemingly without her knowledge, where the execution of Mary Queen of Scots was swiftly carried out.
What happened to Mary Queen of Scots after she ascended the scaffold was gruesome and if you’ve ever wondered ‘how did Mary Stuart die’, the answer is, not well. After making her execution speech, saying her prayers and being made ready by her ladies and the executioners (all of which this video will look at), she was blindfolded and laid her head on the block. It then took three blows of the axe to finish the job and the first did not kill her, instead hitting the base of her head. When it was finally over, her effects were cleaned or burned and she was left in a coffin, unburied, at Fotheringhay for nearly six months, before finally being interred in Peterborough Cathedral on 1 August. Her son, James VI of Scotland became James I of England in 1603 and in 1612, he had his mother’s remains moved to Westminster Abbey, where they remain to this day.
The story of Mary Queen of Scots’ life had always been full of twists and turns, triumphs and tragedies and it was no different when she met her end. Other questions this video will answer include: why was Mary Queen of Scots killed? How old was Mary Queen of Scots when she died? Where did Mary Queen of Scots die and when did Mary Queen of Scots die?
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Antonia Fraser, Mary Queen of Scots (London, 1969). Available from https://amzn.to/37qcHxp (UK LINK) OR https://amzn.to/3fKJXUp (US LINK)
Kate Williams, The Betrayal of Mary, Queen of Scots: Elizabeth I and Her Greatest Rival (Pegasus Books, 2018). Available from https://amzn.to/2X2DnC9 (UK LINK) https://amzn.to/3fKPuKJ (US LINK)
The last will and testament of Mary, Queen of Scots, 8 February 1587
Mary’s prayer book, used at her execution (blog entry with photographs)
Mary Monica Maxwell-Scott, The Tragedy of Fotheringay..., Founded on the Journal of D. Bourgoing (London, 1895)
[This book has a number of eye witness reports of Mary’s final hours in its appendices]
Calendars of the State Papers relating to Scotland
[Again, numerous primary sources relating to Mary’s death. Just scroll through to the relevant date]
Mary, Queen of Scots (2018 film). https://amzn.to/3Cw6QEP (UK LINK) OR https://amzn.to/37pJ1QQ
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