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On 26 January 1569, Mary was moved to Tutbury Castle, and placed in the custody of the Earl of Shrewsbury and his formidable wife Bess of Hardwick. Elizabeth considered Mary's designs on the English throne to be a serious threat and so confined Mary to Shrewsbury's properties, including Tutbury, Sheffield Castle, Wingfield Manor and Chatsworth House, that were in the interior of England halfway between Scotland and London, and distant from the sea. She was permitted her own domestic staff, which never numbered less than 16, and needed 30 carts to transport her belongings from house to house. Her chambers were decorated with fine tapestries and carpets, as well as her cloth of state on which she had the French phrase En ma fin est mon commencement ("In my end lies my beginning") embroidered. Her bedlinen was changed daily, and her own chefs prepared meals with a choice of 32 dishes served off silver plate. She was occasionally allowed outside under strict supervision, spent seven summers at the spa town of Buxton, and spent much of her time doing embroidery. Her health declined, perhaps through porphyria or lack of exercise, and by the 1580s, she had severe rheumatism in her limbs, rendering her lame. In May 1569, Elizabeth attempted to mediate the restoration of Mary in return for guarantees of the Protestant religion, but a convention at Perth rejected the deal overwhelmingly.[Norfolk continued to scheme for a marriage with Mary, and Elizabeth imprisoned him in the Tower of London between October 1569 and August 1570.Early in the following year, Moray was assassinated. Moray's death coincided with a rebellion in the North of England, led by Catholic earls, which persuaded Elizabeth that Mary was a threat. English troops intervened in the Scottish civil war, consolidating the power of the anti-Marian forces. Elizabeth's principal secretaries Sir Francis Walsingham and William Cecil, Lord Burghley, watched Mary carefully with the aid of spies placed in Mary's household. 1571, Cecil and Walsingham uncovered the Ridolfi Plot, which was a plan to replace Elizabeth with Mary with the help of Spanish troops and the Duke of Norfolk. Norfolk was executed, and the English Parliament introduced a bill barring Mary from the throne, to which Elizabeth refused to give royal assent. To discredit Mary, the casket letters were published in London. Plots centred on Mary continued, and after the Throckmorton Plot, Walsingham introduced the Bond of Association and the Act for the Queen's Safety, which sanctioned the killing of anyone who plotted against Elizabeth and was aimed at preventing a putative successor from profiting from her murder. In April 1585, Mary was placed in the stricter custody of Sir Amias Paulet, and at Christmas she was moved to a moated manor house at Chartley.

On 11 August 1586, after being implicated in the Babington Plot, Mary was arrested while out riding and taken to Tixall. In a successful attempt to entrap her, Walsingham had deliberately arranged for Mary's letters to be smuggled out of Chartley. Mary was misled into thinking her letters were secure, while in reality they were deciphered and read by Walsingham. From these letters it was clear that Mary had sanctioned the attempted assassination of Elizabeth.[She was moved to Fotheringay Castle in a four-day journey ending on 25 September, and in October was put on trial for treason under the Act for the Queen's Safety before a court of 36 noblemen,[including Cecil, Shrewsbury, and Walsingham. Mary denied the charges and was spirited in her defence. She told her triers, "Look to your consciences and remember that the theatre of the whole world is wider than the kingdom of England".[She drew attention to the facts that she was denied the opportunity to review the evidence, that her papers had been removed from her, that she was denied access to legal counsel and that as a foreign anointed queen she had never been an English subject and thus could not be convicted of treason. Mary was convicted on 25 October and sentenced to death with only one commissioner, Lord Zouche, expressing any form of dissent. Despite this, Elizabeth hesitated to order her execution, even in the face of pressure from the English Parliament to carry out the sentence. She was concerned that the killing of a queen set a discreditable precedent, and was fearful of the consequences, especially if, in retaliation, Mary's son James formed an alliance with the Catholic powers and invaded England. Elizabeth asked Paulet, Mary's final custodian, if he would contrive a clandestine way to "shorten the life" of Mary, which he refused to do on the grounds that he would not make "a shipwreck of my conscience, or leave so great a blot on my poor posterity". On 1 February 1587, Elizabeth signed the death warrant, and entrusted it to William Davison, a privy councillor. On the 3rd, ten members of the Privy Council of England, having been summoned by Cecil without Elizabeth's knowledge, decided to carry out the sentence at once.

At Fotheringhay on the evening of 7 February 1587, Mary was told that she was to be executed the next morning. She spent the last hours of her life in prayer, distributing her belongings to her household, and writing her will and a letter to the King of France. The scaffold that was erected in the Great Hall was two feet high and draped in black. It was reached by two or three steps and furnished with the block, a cushion for her to kneel on and three stools, for her and the earls of Shrewsbury and Kent, who were there to witness the execution. The executioners (one named Bull and his assistant) knelt before her and asked forgiveness. She replied, "I forgive you with all my heart, for now, I hope, you shall make an end of all my troubles." Her servants, Jane Kennedy and Elizabeth Curle, and the executioners helped Mary to remove her outer garments, revealing a velvet petticoat and a pair of sleeves in crimson-brown, the liturgical colour of martyrdom in the Catholic Church, with a black satin bodice and black trimmings. As she disrobed she smiled and said that she "never had such grooms before ... nor ever put off her clothes before such a company". She was blindfolded by Kennedy with a white veil embroidered in gold, knelt down on the cushion in front of the block, on which she positioned her head, and stretched out her arms. Her last words were, "In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum" ("Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit"). Mary was not beheaded with a single strike. The first blow missed her neck and struck the back of her head. The second blow severed the neck, except for a small bit of sinew, which the executioner cut through using the axe. Afterward, he held her head aloft and declared, "God save the Queen." At that moment, the auburn tresses in his hand turned out to be a wig and the head fell to the ground, revealing that Mary had very short, grey hair. A small dog owned by the queen, a Skye terrier, is said to have been hiding among her skirts, unseen by the spectators. Following the beheading, it refused to be parted from its owner's body and was covered in her blood, until it was forcibly taken away and washed. Items supposedly worn or carried by Mary at her execution are of doubtful provenance; contemporary accounts state that all her clothing, the block, and everything touched by her blood was burned in the fireplace of the Great Hall to obstruct relic-hunters. . en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary,Queen of Scots

VIII. "The British wars"

Portrait of Charles I by Anthony van Dyck Oliver Cromwell

1603–1649. The turbulent civil wars of the early seventeenth century would culminate in two events unique to British history; the public execution of a king and the creation of a republic. Professor S. Schama tells us of the brutal war that tore the country in half and created a new Britain – divided by politics and religion and dominated by the first truly modern army, fighting for ideology, not individual leaders.


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