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Mary Queen of Scots

Daughter of James V of Scotland, Mary was a Catholic, and had long cast a shadow on Elizabeth's rule as paranoia about a possible second front in any coming war with Spain gained ground.

When Mary fled to England in 1568, widowed and defeated, she became a dangerous figurehead for Catholic dissent. At first welcomed by Elizabeth, rumors began to spread of Mary's ambitions for the English crown. In a rising climate of State insecurity, personal freedoms were curbed and rumors ran rampant. Several Catholic noblemen staged a minor revolt in the north that was easily faced down by Elizabeth's army.

The Somerville Plot also weakened Mary's slender hold on life as Protestants working for the security services did everything they could to establish a plot between her and her advocates to overthrow Elizabeth. A supposed conspiracy was eventually unearthed/planted by Walsingham's spies and agent provocateurs in the events of the Babington Plot.

Her trial took place and was concluded in her absence in Northamptonshire. She was found guilty of plotting the death of Elizabeth, and beheaded on February 8th 1587. On hearing of Mary's death, from a warrant that she must have signed, Elizabeth allegedly became hysterical and blamed those closest to her for side-stepping her authority and executing Mary without her express command.

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