The Final Years


Elizabeth could do nothing and so she was forced to imprison Mary. Over the next 18 years of her life, Mary was kept prisoner in 9 different castles in England. These castles were;

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While Mary was in prison, many plots were hatched to free her. These usually involved plotting the death of Elizabeth and having Mary rise to the English throne. None of these plots succeeded, but with each one the fear of Mary's power increased. Public pressure to remove Mary was growing, and by 1586, it was impossible to resist the pressure to act against Mary.

Mary's Trial

In 1585, an act was passed which stated that any person who plotted against Queen Elizabeth had to face trial. Mary's trial was held at Fotheringhay on October 15th 1586, and the news that day was that she had been found guilty.

The Death of Mary

Elizabeth didn't want to sign her cousin's death warrant and she delayed many times, but in the end she was forced to by her advisors. On the evening of February 7th 1587, Mary was told that she would be executed the next day. Mary spent the whole night in prayer and wrote letters to confess her sins. She also wrote to inform King Henry of France of the circumstances of her death. She was sent for at 8 o'clock. Six servants and Melville, her steward, were allowed to be present when the axeman beheaded her. Mary's last words to Melville when she saw him in tears were:

"You ought to rejoice and not to weep for that the end of Mary Stuart's troubles is now done. Thou knowest, Melville, that all this world is but vanity and full of troubles and sorrows. Carry this message from me and tell my friends that I died a true woman to my religion, and like a true Scottish woman and a true French woman…."

On the morning of February 7th 1587, Mary Queen of Scots died.

Deathmask in Lennoxlove House

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