To Kill a Queen

Monday 29th May. 4 PM – The Nave and Crossing, Ely Cathedral. Various scenes today in our ‘corridors of power’ – the beautiful interior of Ely Cathedral.


Of these perhaps the most dramatic is Elizabeth’s reaction to the news that Mary Queen of Scots has been executed. Elizabeth’s response to the news of the execution was a host of contradictions. In the first instance she had signed Mary’s death warrant so she could hardly claim to be unaware of what would now happen, yet she maintained that she had not wanted the document delivered to Fotheringhay. She declared instead that she had wanted it ‘kept’ to see how events unfolded. Indeed she turned so furiously on the poor man who dispatched the warrant that she had him thrown in the Tower. Yet if she had genuinely not wanted the execution to proceed she could simply have continued to stall in signing the warrant in the first place – she’d already been doing that for months.
So why was she so panicked, so worried at the news that the execution had taken place? Mary was hardly the first person she had sent to the scaffold. Mary was, however, different. She was not an English subject, not even an ordinary mortal, but a Queen like Elizabeth herself. In an era when it was believed that the anointing of monarchs at their coronation put them above ordinary men and women and made them answerable only to God, killing one queen said something about all queens. Was Elizabeth herself also simply another mortal to be judged by others?
Justin

5 Responses to “To Kill a Queen”

  1. Sir Walter Rawley says:

    Hey Hey Hey Justin,
    Ofcourse Elizabeth was just another mortal being judged by others just like everyone else who has ever lived a life. I feel that Elizabeth was just upset with herself by allowing a prince to die under her command, exspecially when she understood the death warrant would be held for a time without execution to see what else would develop from the Queen of Scotts. I think that there was a lot of confusion surrounding what Elizabeth wanted done with death warrant which led to scaffold at a time Elizabeth disagreed with. On the other hand she could of been upset that she has killed a relative of hers, and a relative that experienced many things Elizabeth have not, such as childbirth and marraige.
    So Justin I am very curious to know what Raleigh’s role is when Mary of Scotts is beheaded?

  2. Bill says:

    In certain religions, it is specified that there is a rift in the human soul which was not constructed to belong entirely to life. The earth begs us to deny this split, seduces us, a threat disguised as implication — as we can see in the execution of Mary, Queen of Scotts, which should be interpreted as an argument between Elizabeth I and her God — that Mary is just meat?
    Well, well, meat is not always murder, if it is divine.

  3. Justin says:

    Sir Walter – Raleigh’s role in the discovery of the Babington Plot ( and hence his part in Mary’s death) is an interesting one. Raleigh had been in contact with Babington and his secretary had approached Mary’s agent Thomas Morgan in an attempt to gain access to her circle. But whose side was he on? Certainly the Spanish ambassador told his master that Raleigh had known of the plot before it was uncovered and Babington himself offered Raleigh £1000 to get a pardon from the Queen. In fact I think Raleigh was trying to play the spy on Elizabeth’s behalf. Walsingham’s agents had so thoroughly infiltratred the plot that they would have known if Raleigh had betrayed the Queen. And more interesting still, when Babington is executed, Elizabeth gives the vast majority of his confiscated estates to……Raleigh.

  4. Sir Walter Ralegh says:

    Justin,
    you refreshed my mind, I remember that Raleigh tried the spygame many times and that was one of the first. In the end it was the spygame sent him to the Tower under K. James. Some historians suggest that he was not part of the Bye Plot but tried to uncover it to gain favour, but James already heard “Rawly” of him and decided to find him guilty of treason. The good old days probably gave him the idea.
    Thanks
    WR – he enjoyed those estates

  5. Mary says:

    Hey there im just doing an assignment on the two queens an i thought straight away that this was where i wanted to come and seek your opinions

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