Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

So Mary, who still cherished the hope of being named Elizabeth's heir, poked her sec'y to write the English queen & see if she'd mind if Darnley took up permanent residence in Scotland. Lots of peeps didn't much like MQOSs sec'y, David Rizzio.

David Rizzio
MQOSs sec'y

He was a funny short Italian Catholic dude so even way more foreign than her Frenchie peeps & they thunk she showed him too great a favor by inviting him to dine w/ her when he was just a flunkey. And not even a Scots flunkey! MQOS was all pffft I'm the queen I shall do what I wish; twas bad enough she had to put up w/ Knox & the Kirk & those annoying Scots lords! At least her principal ladies couldn't be faulted b/c they were little Scots girls who had gone into Frenchie exile w/ her & were known as the 4 Maries b/c they were all born one after the other after MQOS & named for her. There was Mary Seton, Mary Beaton, Mary Livingston, & Mary Fleming. Mary Fleming's mother had been MQOSs governess but there was scandal & disgrace b/c Janet Fleming made eyes at Henry II & got a fat belly for her trouble. All the Marys made a little pet out of Davie & peeps thunk he was hanging round the queen's chambers way too much. I got lots of correspondence, MQOS sniffed. And she did write to Elizabeth lots trying to suck up, but Elizabeth knew she was also always writing to her Guise rellies & to that jerk Philip, who was now married to her BFF Elisabeth.

When Cecil showed her the latest from MQOS requesting permission to wed an English subject, Elizabeth had a good chortle & said tell her um NO. Cecil was all, but I thunk ya wanted her to hook up w/ Darnley! O, sure, Elizabeth said, but she's more likely to do it if she thinks I don't like it. Truuust me. I dunno, said Cecil, but he was a good little flunkey & did as he was bid.

MQOS was all pffft just b/c SHE wants to die an old dried-up spinster doesn't mean I hafta do it! Who does she think she is? Um, the peep w/ the shinier crown, ventured the Scots ambassador to England, Maitland, who was cozying up to Mary Fleming. MQOS said hmph, she can stuff her crown! How many yrs has she been promising to make me her heir & never followed thru? Now I've stolen one of her English heirs out from under her & doubly strengthened my claim! Like she's gonna pick Ferdinando over this match! I WANNA MARRY DARNLEY & I DON'T CARE WHAT ELIZABETH SAYS ABOUT IT!!!

Darnley & MQOS wedding portrait

Elizabeth went storming round pretending outrage when she heard MQOS & Darnley had said their I dos. In fact, she grabbed Margaret Douglas & had her slammed into the Tower for intriguing to marry her brat to the Scots queen. The council started putting more pressure on Elizabeth herself to marry posthaste & beat out MQOS in the heir-stakes. O SHUT UP, she grumbled at them, agreeing to negotiate some w/ Philip's cuz Charles, Archduke of Austria, & went off to have another portrait painted of her good self. She liked that. Elizabeth has so many portraits that peeps just gave up counting after a while & settled upon 11dy6.

Elizabeth I
the Darnley Portrait

Even if Elizabeth had gotten hitched the day after, tis doubtful whether she would've beat on MQOS in the heir-stakes, as MQOS got w/ child just by looking at her lang lad. By Christmas it was announced that she was pregnant. But by Christmas she was starting to give Darnley the stink eye & wishing she'd said OK when Elizabeth said um NO.

Darnley was irked b/c MQOS refused to grant him the Crown Matrimonial as she'd done w/ Francis. This gave a king equal power w/ the queen regnant. Otherwise he was just a prince consort who got to go round saying inappropriate things all the time like Prince Philip does today LOL She did let him be known as King Henry instead of Prince Henry, but he still had the sulks over it b/c that was just a sop & didn't give him any of the rights of a king to stamp his seal on stuff & order it to be done. He still had to clear his stuff w/ Mary 1st & that meant going thru her sec'y, & he despised Rizzio b/c when MQOS said um NO to stupid things Darnley wanted to do, poor Rizzio had to deliver the bad news. Darnley didn't get to be important & sign stuff w/o his wife's approval, either. The Scots whisky was nice & there was lots of ill-repute to be had in Edinburgh, but it ticked him off that his status was really more like that of a queen consort's....look pretty & breed heirs. Even her illegit bro Moray had manly stuff to do being council prez. Darnley threw lots of tiresome tantrums when he didn't get his own way & pretty soon everyone knew the royal newlyweds weren't getting along well at all. MQOS was starting to get embarrassed about what a jerk DH was being, not knowing he'd always been a jerk & was just playing nice till he could get a shiny crown on his head. But no one had still invented divorce for Catholics, & natch MQOS didn't want a mess where her kid's legit-ness would be questioned.

Moray was so irked by his sis's plans to wed Darnley (b/c Darnley was also Catholic) that he rose up in rebellion w/ some of his Protestant peeps just b4 they got hitched & this is known as the Chaseabout Raid b/c Mary's peeps couldn't catch him & he made a run for the border & threw himself upon Elizabeth's mercy for a while. Darnley thunk he should be council prez now but his wife was um NO. So Darnley hmmm'd & brooded & sang the Scots whisky song whilst he drank it & decided to give the wench a little spot of rebellion his good self. He allied w/ some peeps who weren't fussed over Rizzio, either, & they decided to get rid of Davie.

MQOS had a wee privy dining chamber at Holyrood that was off her bechamber & she was having a supper mtg w/ Rizzio.

Holyrood Palace

Her chambers connected to the king's chambers by means of a seecrud staircase so that there didn't have to be any of that fanfare where everyone knew when the king & queen were gonna try for an heir like they did in England & such. Darnley let the peeps in & they snuck up the stairs & burst in. MQOS never forgave one of the dudes, Andrew Kerr of Fawdonside, who grabbed her out of her chair & shoved a newfangled pistol into her 6 mos pregnant belly & threatened to kill both her & her unborn child if she dared move. The rest of them fell on Rizzio w/ knives & chased him round the queen's apts until he was properly murdalized.

The Murder of David Rizzio

Then they dragged out his corpse & set a guard on the queen's doors so she couldn't get out. The king had just run a successful palace coup against the queen & peeps was agog to see what was gonna happen next.

MQOS had a nice thunk & decided Darnley was the weak link. Ruthven & his ilks was just, well, too ruthless LOL & the next time she saw Kerr of Fawdonside she was gonna yell OFF WITH HIS HEAD! And she was kinda getting her head round the notion of how the Scots lords preferred the nice regency concept, so she sneaked down to Darnley's digs via the seecrud staircase b/c there was no guard on him, & grabbed away his Scots whisky & said look, you idiot, do ya think they're gonna let either one of us live once I spawn this misbegotten brat of ours? Do ya think AT ALL? WTF? You are NOT playing w/ a full deck if you think king trumps queen in MY realm, mister. It's them jokers what trump all & you're dumb enough to pal around w/ them? We need to crush em, not buddy up em to em!

Darnley sobered up & commenced having a bad case of the whinging frights. O me o my, he said, wringing his hands, what shall become of me? MQOS rolled her eyes & leaned in up close & said, Yknow, I worry about you, Henry. I worry A LOT. Then she boxed his ears & hissed, You can get out & I can't, thanks to your nonsense! GO FIND BOTHWELL! He's just the dude we need to fix this mess.

James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell

James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, was a dude few ppl chose to mess w/ b/c he was a Border Lord w/ an iron fist. He was also Lord High Admiral of Scotland & buddied up to Mary of Guise some when she came over to Scotland to become James Vs 2nd Frenchie bride (the 1st, Madeleine, died of the consump after about 5 min of breathing in all that Highland mist). When MOG was having issues w/ the Scots lords whilst trying to be regent for MQOS, Bothwell was like her main man, so peeps looked at him sideways. So far he hadn't much cuddled up w/ MQOS b/c he was busy glaring at the Hamiltons for some tiresome nonsense (Scarlet does not know if Melanie & Charles & Aunt Pittypat are related). They were the Earls of Arran so kinda important peeps, tho they did have that embarrassingly whacko son who wanted to marry MQOS & wouldn't take no for an ans till he lost his head.

But MQOS knew Mummy relied on Bothwell to help out sometimes, & he was the only peep she could think of who wasn't either involved in Davie's demise or had made a run for the border w/ her bro that was reliable. He was maybe 15 yrs or so older than her but he'd spent those yrs bldg a nice tough rep, not dancing to Frenchie music & writing bad poetry like the queen. Really, her edjamacation was scandalously neglected when held up against Elizabeth's. Tis no wonder peeps called her a bimbo. So Bothwell managed to break her out of Holyrood in a daring nighttime escape where she jumped on a horse ginormously rounded & hied for Edinburgh Castle. That sucker's up high & kinda impregnable. Good choice.

Edinburgh Castle

Meanwhile, Elizabeth wasn't amused w/ supporting Moray & his ilks in England, & she was appalled when she found out what happened to Rizzio. Clearly marriage to Darnley was the bad thing she'd expected, but even Elizabeth didn't think it'd be THAT bad. So she told Mary she was sending her bro home & they needed to kiss & make up & get pardoned b/c someone had to run the joint whilst MQOS was getting ready to spawn & it wasn't gonna be Darnley.

MQOS was mighty ticked at this Elizabethan presumption telling her how to run her own darn kingdom, but she supposed if she ever wanted to be named heir she'd best start listening to what Elizabeth said from now on. She was right about her DH, wasn't she?

So there was a nice public reception & Moray got to be prez again & then she got even more ticked b/c he had the council pass stuff what didn't hold any of the peeps who were involved in the Rizzio plot accountable. She wanted Andy Kerr's head NOW. Moray pointed out that her DH was equally culpable & twould be a huger scandal to have him arrested & charged & decapitated along w/ the rest of em. MQOS sighed & glared at Darnley. He was too far into the Scots whisky to notice.

Elizabeth's latest matrimonial negotiations had, as usual, come to naught, & when she rec'vd word that MQOS was safely delivered of a baby boy at Edinburgh she lamented, "The Queen of Scots is lighter of a fair son, & I am but barren stock!" Cecil & Cat rolled their eyes & said, well, whose fault is THAT, missy? Ain't we toldja to get hitched to anyone but Dudley lo these many yrs already? Elizabeth flounced off & reopened the Frenchie negotiations, since the new king Charles was now almost old enough for consummation purposes. She sent MQOS a nice pressie & stood godmother to little James, tho she sent a proxy & didn't actually go.

MQOS & baby James

Darnley was irked that he wasn't little Henry & he still didn't get the Crown Matrimonial for producing a lad, & refused to attend the christening at Stirling, much to MQOSs consternation. She had important peeps from all over Europe popping in for the event & to have her DH gone missing from it was embarassing.

The Scots lords got together & discussed what a PITA Darnley was becoming, Bothwell among them. Bothwell had just gotten hitched his good self to Jean Gordon, one of those Catholic peeps whose rebellion MQOS had put down a while back. Moray was unfussed w/ Darnley's blatherings in council & his public excursions in debauchery were less & less discreet. They all agreed Darnley was a huge liability & since he'd done his duty & gotten the heir, who needed him anymore? Well, we can't just toss him across the border, b/c what if James demises & we need another heir? So they hmmm'd some for a while & then got together at Ainslie's Tavern to sign a bond.

A bond is where a bunch of important peeps sign a paper saying they're committed to taking action over something, & the action was getting rid of Darnley. Since both he & MQOS were Catholics, just kicking him out wasn't going to accomplish squat in case a 2nd heir was required, b/c if she was still married any other kids would be bastards. And jeez, look what happened in England when they started letting em take the throne, huh? Moray was not amused b/c he was a royal bastard his good self, & tis a pity he was b/c he was much better at ruling than MQOS ever was.

Darnley was even more irked when, after his non-appearance at James's christening (see, it looked bad if Dad didn't show for such things, b/c twas as if he wasn't acknowledging it was his kid), he tried to then get cozy w/ MQOS to make a spare & she boxed his ears again & told him where he could shove it. MQOS got kinda lucky there b/c b4 ya knew it, DH was down w/ a right proper case of the sicks. He had the Frenchie pox. If you were a Frenchie they called it the English pox. We call it a really bad STD (& I ain't talking Spot the Diff), syphilis, & tisn't pretty. I shall spare you the yucky Stage 2 symptoms, which is where Darnley was at. Antibiotics hadn't been invented yet & so twas treated w/ infusions of mercury & all sorts of quackery that was more likely to kill ya than cure ya.

The Scots lords ran a pool on when he'd croak when they found out. Darnley whinged a lot, tho he got no sympathy from peeps b/c he was dumb enough to catch the pox. Stuff to wear to prevent that HAD been invented back in Henry VIIIs day by a clever Italian peep called Gustavo Fallopio (they tied on w/ ribbons then ROFL b/c latex hadn't been invented), so Darnley was just lazy. His sores were so icky he wore a mask so peeps wouldn't puke when they saw his face. He was way out on the Lennox estates & wanted to go back to Edinburgh for better quackery, so twas arranged he would be installed near the castle in a house attached to a religious place known as Kirk O' Fields.

So MQOS got Darnley settled & arranged for the finest in quackery & likely tossed her groat into the pool as well, b/c my wouldn't it solve a whole lot of probs if he were to demise posthaste. Then she could get a nice new DH who wasn't crawling w/ nasty sores. Elizabeth had just tossed over that Archduke of Austria b/c he was Catholic. He'd do nicely if Don Carlos didn't work out & twould still ally her not just w/ France but w/ Spain & Philip (all them Hapsburgs inbreeded constantly), so if Elizabeth didn't watch her step, POW! 3-pronged attack b4 she knew what hit her! O twas pleasant to daydream about life sans that jerk she'd married! Elizabeth was gonna be a dried-up old spinster in no time & then Mary could have a pair of crowns again AND a better hubby. Surely no one could be worse than Darnley!

Darnley was whingy & bored & sometimes MQOS would roll her eyes & stay over at Kirk O' Fields instead of going back to the castle b/c she was there so late trying to keep him amused. Natch she had her own apts & there was no hanky-panky allowed, tho she permitted DH to think there might be once he was "cured". There's 4 stages to the syph, & the 2nd & 4th are the worst, but it goes into remission for a while after the 2nd & sometimes doesn't come back. Peeps didn't always demise of it & if they did it took yrs to get to Stage 4 (unless they were dumb enough to keep getting reinfected). Darnley was recovering & he could well have lived a normal lifespan if he got lucky, tho he was still prolly gonna be mighty contagious. Peeps didn't know that, either. They thunk if there were no nasty sores than twas OK. Twas a crapshoot. And if ya recollect, Darnley was still a little punk who'd just turned 19. Tell a kid that age no more nookie for you & see what they says. So he thunk once he was all better MQOS would say OK, we needs us a spare, have at it. Ya think she lied back & thunk of England? LOL

One night in Feb Darnley had the pouts b/c MQOS was throwing a nice wedding for a cpl servants at the castle. He whinged until she sighed & promised to come back after the party & tell him all about it. Luckily for her, they partied hearty & MQOS got the yawns & said meh the heck w/ DH, me for bed, & stayed in Edinburgh.

Only to be awakened in the middle of the night by a humungous explosion.....

Twas fireworks the like Edinburgh had never seen & its raging epicenter was Kirk O' Fields. The house in which Darnley was staying had been blown clear off its foundations w/ debris blazing merrily all around. MQOS looked out the castle window & said o my I reckon I can get my widow's weeds outta mothballs & start planning a nice state funeral, b/c DH looks to be toast. Then she poked one of the Maries to see if she'd won the pool.

But Darnley wasn't a smouldering charcoal briquette at all. No siree, he was as bad a screwup in death as he was in life, that one. See, there was gunpowder galore somehow smuggled into the cellar (o the irony of the Gunpowder Plot involving his son to come later in the saga), which explained the fabby explosion. Anyone in that house coulda shoulda woulda been served up on a Cajun platter. However, gunpowder don't generally explode all by itself unless it's really ancient & therefore unstable, & there were lots of fun wars, so the firemasters (what they called the dudes who were licensed by the crown to make it) always had new stuff on hand. In order to make gunpowder do what it's supposed to do, there's gotta be a fuse (preferably a nice long one so you can RUN) & a match. They were called lucifers back then LOL Some peep had to creep to the fuse w/ a light to get it going & then get well outta range of the ensuing spectacle.

Nobody knows who it was that actually did the deed (prolly some flunkey), but Darnley didn't sleep well & was lying there all bored b/c DW hadn't returned & he heard the peep sneaking round in the cellar & got the frights, so he poked his manservant awake & said RUN AWAY RUN AWAY & they tied sheets together & shimmied out a window. See, Darnley wasn't entirely a moron, b/c he knew the Rizzio peeps were mad that he'd crossed em, so he was afeared of being assassinated. They ran across the lawn & into the garden b4 the blast flung em a little further.

And once the fire was out & peeps were all shaking their heads at poor King Henry's likely toasty demise & the sun came up to illuminate the scene, there was Darnley in his jammies in the garden.....strangled.

contemporary drawing of Kirk O' Fields,
complete w/ Darnley's jammied corpse at R

OK wouldn't that REALLY irk ya if you were him? Survived the syph, survived the explosion, only to be spotted in the light of the flames & have some peep chase after ya & kill ya anyway? So he wasn't incinerated, merely a little blue. Alas the Scots were done w/ that nonsense & so he stuck out like a sore thumb & peeps were all agog b/c clearly this was murder most royal.

MQOS was all O SHITE when the corpse was discovered. Now DH was going to be an even bigger prob. Elizabeth was duly appalled & wrote sternly telling Mary that she must punish those who would kill an anointed king (even if he didn't have that sparkly Crown Matrimonial on) to the fullest extent of the law.

The prob was, MQOS wouldn't have any lords left if she did that LOL b/c most if not all of em were in on it & had signed the Ainslie's Tavern bond, which Moray (who had not signed) promptly waved around at em in a discreet fashion. A scapegoat was needed as the ringleader & instigator of this crime. The Scots lords whispered a lot about who they hated the mostest & who was cuddled up too close to the queen & said meh let's pin it all on Bothwell.

So Bothwell was rounded up & tossed in the Tollbooth. This was the cheezy Scots low-rent version of the Tower & not half as scary. Peeps was all amazed when MQOS let him out on bail! They started hmmm'ing & posters began appearing round Edinburgh depicting Mary as a mermaid. Back then this was a bad thing to call a chick b/c it was synonymous w/ woman of ill-repute. Peeps figured MQOS had a thing going w/ Bothwell & he got rid of DH for her.

However, Bothwell was not w/o his own resources & word up was he was a pretty intimidating dude. So he told all the other Scots lords that he'd start naming names & spilling lots of guts MQOS didn't even know about if he got convicted & even close to the block. Heck, he might even implicate the queen if he had to, & how bad would THAT make Scotland look? Were they gonna toss HER in the Tollbooth & think they were gonna enjoy a nice regency again? A few key witnesses had a sudden case of the demises or the disappearances as well. He wasn't going down for a jerk like Darnley no sirree. He came riding into Edinburgh at the head of a huge troop of his wild borderers like he owned the joint & was condescending to come by & be tried. He lollygagged & smirked thru the whole thing & at the end of it all Moray had to pronounce him not guilty b/c they all knew they were all gonna go down w/ him if they did otherwise. Ya didn't mess w/ Bothwell.

Elizabeth was more appalled that Darnley's murderers were gonna go unpunished. It got to where MQOS would just throw her mail in a pile & glare at it for wks b4 even rdg it, prolly, b/c Elizabeth lectured the petticoats off her every chance she got & Mary was not amused. She had enough trouble TYVM. These Scots were just nuts & totally outta control. They weren't civilized like the English & the Frenchies. Elizabeth didn't know jack on dealing w/ peeps like these & needed to just shut up.

Bothwell's wife then immediately petitioned the Kirk for a nice divorce.....

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