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VARIOUS TEXTS: QUEEN ELIZABETH I and MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS

One of the most interesting periods in Englsh history is that during which the struggle between Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots took place. Mary said that she had a claim to the throne of England. She would perhaps have renounced this claim if Elizabeth would have named her as her successor. But Elizabeth refuswed to do this for many reasons. The most important reason was that Mary was a Roman catholic and he English people did not wish to have a Roman Catholic to rule over them. Also Elizabeth was jealous of Mary because Mary was beautiful and popular.
Elizabeth was in constant fear that Scotland would attack England on Mary's behalf. Perhaps this would have happened if Mary had not made the Scottish people very angry. Mary had married her cousin, Lord Darnley. She did not love her husband and, less than two years after their marriage, Lord Darnley was murdered. The murder was committed by the orders of a nobleman, named Bothwell, who was in love with Mary. It is almost certain that Mary consented that her husband should be murdered. The Scottish people believed that she agreed to his death, and when she afterwards married Bothwell, the people rose against her. Mary was defeated and was obliged to flee to England. She asked Elizabeth to help her to regain the Scotch crown, but Elizabeth, naturally, refused.
Mary was a prisoner in England for nearly twenty years. Her presence in Engalnd was a great danger to Elizabeth, since many plots were formed on Mary's behalf.At last it was discovered that a plot had been formed to murder Elizabeth and put Mary on the English throne in her place. Elizabeth's advisers now told her that she would not be safe as long as Mary lived. Elizabeth did not want to sign the order for Mary's death, and when at last she had signed it she gave a command that the order was not to be obeyed. She hesitated so long that at last her advisers sent the order for Mary's death to the prison without waiting for Elizabeth's consent.
Mary received the news that she was condemned to death with great calmness. Her servants were very fond of her, and they were much distressed at the news. Mary said all she could to comfort them, and made them parting gifts of her jewels and clothes. She spent the evening before her execution in making her will and in writing letters of farewell to her friends. On the morning of the execution Mary was dressed in black. She asked that two or three of her favourite servants should accompany her to the scaffold. She mounted the scaffold quietly, and prayed aloud that her sins might be forgiven.


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