explain the factors that eventually led to Elizabeth’s decision to sign the death warrant of Mary Queen of Scots

2 Responses to “What are the factors that led to the execution of Mary Queen of Scots?”

  • Kirstie:

    I don’t know all of them but here are some:

    She was Catholic. Elizabeth was uneasy and wary about signing her death warrant as it could spark a Catholic revolution. However, in Catholics opinions Elizabeth is a ‘******* child’ (illegitimate) and therefore should not be Queen as she did not rightfully inherit it (Henry VIII divorced his first wife which the Catholics disagreed with, Henry VIII swapped from Catholicism to Protestantism and married Anne Boleyn while legally still married to Catherine of Aragon his first wife). Therefore the Catholics traced the lineage back to the legitimate heir which should be Mary Queen of Scots who was Catholic and legitimate. Elizabeth was afraid of Mary Queen of Scots as the Catholics might have and probably were planning plots to assassinate Elizabeth so England could return to Catholicism under the ‘true’ Queen, Mary. Afraid of rebellion and assassination, Elizabeth imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots in the Tower for a long time (19years?). During this time there were many Catholic plots to free Mary and kill Elizabeth – none succeeded.

    Along came the Spanish Armada. Spain is Catholic and therefore sided with the Catholics and their belief that Mary was supposed to be Queen. Elizabeth annoyed Phillip II of Spain by taking Spanish treasure from Spanish ships. Phillip II of Spain was also annoyed because Francis Drake had been knighted and Drake liked to trade privately which Phillip considered a violation of the trading agreement. Spain prepared for war. Phillip seized all English ships in Spanish ports which annoyed Elizabeth. Elizabeth sent troops to Dutch Protestant states who wanted freedom from Spain. Phillip ordered ships to be built. Elizabeth had Mary Queen of Scots executed.

    The main reason was the fact that Catholics thought Mary was the true Queen and it became dangerous for Elizabeth with all of the Catholic plots to remove her from the throne and turn England Catholic once again.

    You could look into why Elizabeth was considered illegitimate by Catholics as that was the reason Mary was seen to be the real Queen.

    Hope that helps

  • ammianus:

    Mary was next in line to the throne of England,as Elizabeth was unmarried and childless (Mary and Elizabet were cousins).

    In itself,this wasn’t such a big threat,but Mary was also a Catholic and Elizabeth,as a Protestant,was regarded by the major powers of Europe (Spain,France,the Holy Roman Empire,and the Pope) as a heretic; further,these powers therefore regarded Mary as the rightful Queen of England.In 1586,Philip II of Spain decided to mount an expedition to invade England and replace Elizabeth with Mary as queen.

    This was a much greater threat.Although there had been Catholic plots before in England to assassinate Elizabeth and make Mary Queen,these were easily dealt with and weren’t regarded as a particularly serious threat (Mary had been a prisoner in England since 1567 – if Elizabeth had really seen Mary as serious threat,she would have executed her long before 1587).Now,if the Spanish invasion was successful, Philip had a ready made,legitimate claimant to the English throne to replace Elizabeth with.It thus became necessary to remove Mary before the Armada sailed to invade England;it was vital that Elizabeth could represent the Spanish attack in national rather than religious terms,and thus rally the whole population, Catholic and Protestant,behind her.With Mary out of the way,Philip would have no credible replacement for Elizabeth and the Armada could be represented as an attack on England for national rather than religious reasons.

    Sir Francis Walsingham,Principle Secretary to Elizabeth,therefore fabricated a plot (known as the Babbington Plot) against Elizabeth whereby she was to be assassinated and replaced by Mary – all with Mary’s knowledge and connivance.Mary was arrested in 1586,given a show trial,found guilty of treason and sentenced to death.She was executed 7 February 1587.

    So,the main factor that led to the execution of Mary was Philip’s plan to invade England and replace Protestant Elizabeth I as queen with the Catholic Mary.Mary was thus too dangerous to leave alive any longer.

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