Unlike Queen Elizabeth to her south, Mary bowed under the pressure that she should wed. But the slub she chose in 1565 was her own cousin, Henry Stewart, the Lord of Darnley. Sir Walter Scott, a man who knew something about romance, described Darnley as “…remarkably tall and handsome…but unhappily destitute of sagacity, prudence…(and) extremely violent in his passions.” Another observer sketched Darnley as “shallow, vain, weak, indolent, selfish, arrogant, vindictive and irremediably spoiled.” And those were his good features. What was not to like about a guy like that?
There was no shortage of suspects. There were Darnley’s allies in the murder of Rizzio. Killing Darnley prevented him from spreading their names around. And then there the men to whom Mary had turned after the murder of Rizzio. They were just as rich and power hungry as Darnley was, but smarter. Killing Darnley made Mary an available widow again. And then there was Mary, herself
A month after this ‘wedding’ Mary was forced to surrender her crown, and the nobles who may or may not have helped murder Lord Darnley, ran Scotland in her infant son’s name. Bothwell died years later, insane, in a Danish prison, and Mary escaped south of the boarder to England, where Elizabeth had her locked up in one castle after another for the next 19 years.
Finally, in 1587 Elizabeth got tired of feeding her poor Scottish relation and condemned her to death. It is alleged that it took from two to four blows to separate Mary’s head from her body, which was another joke, since the lady had done nothing but lose her head since she had set foot back in Scotland. But while the audience was still chuckling over this, Elizabeth died in 1603, and James, product of the most mismatched coupling since Lott dined with is family, became the King of England.
Who’d a thunk it?
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