Hello readers! I’m back today with another On This Day post! I was planning on writing at least one more in January and another one last week, but an upper respiratory infection/flu illness knocked me down so hard that it was difficult to get back up again. So I scoured On This Day and came up with Mary, Queen of Scots.
Mary Queen of Scots is Beheaded: On This Day February 8, 1567
The Tudor Dynasty was a period in English history that is synonymous with beheadings. The Tower of London is where many notorious executions took place, and one of those beheadings was Mary Queen of Scots.
Mary Queen of Scots was an interesting woman during this period. Mary was a Stuart by lineage, but her mother was Margaret Tudor, the sister to King Henry VIII of England. Her royal blood stretched across the whole of the two countries. After the death of her father, King James V when she was only six days old, she ascended the throne to Scotland. She was sent to France to study abroad and ended up marrying the future king of France. Mary was Queen of France for a short period, and when her husband died, she finally returned to Scotland.
She ended up marrying her first cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, but this wasn’t a happy marriage. After a few short years of marriage, there was an explosion at his home and he was found murdered. Mary then married a man named James Hepburn, but not before he was investigated for Lord Darnley’s murder.
All of Scotland disapproved of Mary’s third marriage, and she was forced to abdicate the throne of Scotland. Her one-year-old son with Lord Darnley became King James VI of Scotland after her abdication. Mary tried to regain the throne, but was forced to flee to England. It was here that she pleaded for help from Queen Elizabeth I of England, her cousin.
Elizabeth wasn’t exactly happy with this family reunion. Mary’s father refused to turn away from the Roman Catholic Church in favor of the Church of England at the request of Henry VIII, and many English Catholics called for Mary Queen of Scots the rightful Catholic Queen of England. Therefore, Elizabeth ended up confining her to various castles throughout England for almost 19 years. Eventually, in 1587, Mary was found guilty of plotting to assassinate Queen Elizabeth and was subsequently beheaded.
Like I said, Mary lived quite the whirlwind life. What I find the most fascinating was that she spent her entire childhood as Queen of Scotland while never setting foot on its shores. Scotland was ruled by regents during this period, and she ended up being Queen of France during her time there. Her son, James VI, would eventually become King of both England and Scotland since Elizabeth had no heirs and James was raised Protestant.
Nonfiction and Historical Fiction Authors: Tudor and Stuart Royalty
There seems to be a pretty solid niche in historical fiction that centers on royalty, and an even smaller group that focuses on the Tudors and the Stuarts. This period of history was a tumultuous one for the English people, filled with much change in the monarchy and religion. There will always be readers looking to read more about these legendary kings and queens.
Here’s a list of some famous authors who have written various works on both the Tudors and the Stuarts. Some of them are a series of books while others are nonfiction accounts. But all of them tell tales of beheadings and backstabbing most notable during this era in history.
1. Alison Weir
2. Philippa Gregory
3. Antonia Fraser
On This Day Posts
- November 7th: The Bolsheviks Revolt Against the Whites in Russia
- November 23rd: Roald Dahl Passes Away
- December 16th: Happy Birthday Jane Austen
- January 9th: The First Modern Circus is Staged
The Tudors and the Stuarts have always been interesting to me. I’ve already added a bunch of these books to my list, and these are authors that I’m already familiar with in the historical fiction/nonfiction world. I plan on working my way through them at some point in my reading career since I have quite a passion for learning about kings and queens throughout history. Have you read any of these books or authors? What do you think? Comment below!