Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Ravishing Queen of Scots

Peeps had sympathy for Jean Gordon being married to a peep like Bothwell who prolly had just gotten away w/ murder.

Lady Jean Gordon, Bothwell's 1st wife

Bothwell was mighty clever b/c if HE had petitioned, peeps woulda been all over that accusing him of wanting to marry the queen, but somehow he talked the wife into doing it & her petition was promptly granted. None of this waiting round for months or yrs dickering w/ lawyers for the Kirk. Bothwell thanked her kindly & gave her lots of goodies for playing, so much goodies that her rellies couldn't even mutter about a cheap settlement. Twas more advantageous to be married in the Kirk than in the church. If Mary & Darnley had done it, none of this mess would've been necessary.

MQOS put feelers out to Philip about marrying his whacko son again & peeps muttered about another Catholic king, this one Spanish to boot. You had to make a mess to get rid of those pesky Catholic hubbys w/ no divorce available. And Don Carlos would've been a bigger mess than Darnley as a DH. Those crafty Hapsburgs played down just how crazy he was for yrs b4 anyone caught on. Mayhap she recollected the debacle where Arran's whacko son had tried to kidnap her when she 1st arrived & thunk twasn't moot to remain unmarried for long in a realm where peeps had no qualms about seizing royal persons for their own ends, not to mention doing away w/ em. They'd never have dared to do such in England, but the Scots did as they pleased. She was beginning to wish she'd taken the evil MIL behind Door #2 instead of playing this game.

Baby James had his own little princely household at Stirling & MQOS visited him on a regular schedule, so peeps pretty much always knew when she went.

Stirling Castle

I reckon she never thunk about stalkers LOL She was on her way back to Edinburgh one day when her path crossed w/ Bothwell at the head of a passel of his fierce borderers. Bothwell said he'd come to warn her that there was plotting afoot to have her kidnapped & she shouldn't go to Edinburgh b/c she'd be riding into an ambush. MQOS was in a tizzy & prolly cussing all Scots in general & her bad luck at being born queen to these savages. O Bothwell, what shall I do? she wailed in exasperation.

Bothwell tipped her a nice wink. Well, allow me to offer you my hospitality at my great fortress of Dunbar, Your Majesty.

Dunbar Castle (tis in ruins now)

This is known as The Ravishment by some historians b/c no one really knows what happened. Peeps are split btwn was this a little plot Mary & Bothwell had cooked up on their own b/c they WERE carrying on, or was she as pure as the driven snow & it was Bothwell, whom she stupidly thunk was rescuing her, who did the kidnapping?

See, they had the most peculiar ideas regarding chicks back then. If they wanted to sneak around w/ guys they either had to be really super-discreet or it had to be a high-profile dude, like w/ Mary Boleyn & her matched set of kings. Kings could have sport but queens, um NO. It wasn't done. The heir thing, yknow. But they also had this idea that if a chick was kidnapped & ravished, then she was ruint unless she married the dude who did the deed. Seems a bit harsh, dontcha think? Lots of heiresses got condemned to nasty marriages that way thru the yrs. And what bigger heiress did Scotland have to offer than an unmarried MQOS? He who gets the rich chick gets her goodies once the I dos are said.

So nobody knows if Mary had a thing for Bothwell or if Bothwell just saw his chance to seize Scots power by forcing the queen into an unwanted alliance by, um, ravishing her 1st. Whichever it was, after a few days the pair of them went to Holyrood & got duly hitched.

O the uproar when this was announced! Queen regnants didn't run around marrying subjects! Esp freshly divorced ones from a whole 'nother religion! Darnley was only demised ummm like 3 mos or so, so that wasn't considered decent, either. The whole ravishment angle was shady. Elizabeth was duly appalled & prolly thanking her lucky stars she hadn't married Dudley if this was gonna be the reaction from peeps when queens & dead spouses were involved. Philip frowned. Catherine de Medici frowned. Moray was all I so don't think so & began gathering his peeps to make Mary a widow 3x over b/c the Scots lords were not gonna sit for one of their own rising above them, esp a peep they'd just not convicted of killing the lady's last DH.

The odd thing was, Bothwell's name had been tossed about previously as a potential hubby, but the reality of it didn't sit well w/ Moray & his ilks. Moray methinks just didn't want sis to get married at all LOL b/c this is the 2nd marriage he decided was worthy of rebellion against. The other time he lost b/c meh who cared about some drunken Englishman. But now it was Bothwell who was going to be King James (no Crown Matrimonial, tho) & lord it over them & Bothwell knew where all the bodies were buried & he was currently engaged in pillow talk w/ the queen & who know what might fall out of his mouth. He had to be shut up & removed posthaste.

Word came that Moray had a humungous force & was on the march. O shite, Mary sighed, here we go again, another Chaseabout Raid. But it wasn't b/c that time more peeps were on her side than on her bro's. The battle of Langside was a disaster & the Bothwell peeps were soon on the run from the Moray peeps. Bothwell desperately tried to call in favors & muster more troops. They met up w/ the rebels at Carberry Hill & twas obvs who had the most peeps, but Bothwell was willing to fight anyway. Moray sent over a parley & told sis if she got rid of her new DH (since it was a Kirk marriage & not a Catholic one, EZ-PZ), they'd lay down their arms, but if not, she was in for it. MQOS said um NO. There was some harebrained scheme where Bothwell challenged Moray to settle the matter in the time-honored tradition of single combat, seeing as the royal troops were kinda outnumbered. Moray was all pffft not likely b/c he knew Bothwell would cream him, but he sent word back that he'd see if he could find a peep who'd be his champion. This is known as The Last Blast of Chivalry on the Battlefield LOL

Twas summer & hot & peeps were tired of sitting round doing naught & wanted to get busy w/ the battle or were deserting in droves, & finally Mary told Bothwell RUN b/c they'll kill you but they won't dare kill me, & so he did.

Being Lord High Admiral sometimes has its advantages. Bothwell jumped on the 1st boat outta there after a mere month of wedded bliss & he sailed thru Scandinavia trying to drum up support for his DW, to his credit. Unfortunately in Norway he had a spot of trouble, as he ended up in the same city where yrs ago he'd previously ruint a chick. Her family was powerful & not amused, & thrilled to have him fall into their clutches. Norway was ruled by Denmark then & so he was packed off as a prisoner to the king of such. He ended up in the dungeons of Dragsholm Castle & the tourists today can see a pillar to which he was allegedly chained for 10 yrs, w/ a dip around it where he paced. Tis said after a decade of pacing he demised, totally insane, & was mummified & stuck in a local church for peeps to gawk at, tho he's not there anymore & peeps aren't sure it really was him anyway. But that's the official skinny of What Happened to Bothwell on His Travels.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Moray's peeps took MQOS prisoner & marched her thru Edinburgh to jeers & prolly rotten tomatoes. Public opinion was turned & not in a pretty fashion. Mary was appalled & Elizabeth indignant on her behalf, b/c if one British Isles queen could be tumbled off her throne & subjected to abuse, it might make peeps start looking at the other one & hmmm'ing a lot. Ya couldn't be too careful.

The Scots lords decided that, too, & sent Mary off to Lochleven.

Lochleven Castle

This was a castle owned by Clan Douglas on an island in the midst of a really big lake & if MQOS so much as dipped a toe in the water peeps would be all over that & stop her from escaping. Only one of the Maries, Mary Seton, was still w/ her, as the rest had all married & retired. Moray told Sis she could jolly well rot there unless she abdicated in favor of her baby son & let him be the regent. MQOS said um NO & wrote lots of indignant letters herself, but most of em didn't make it to the post office. When the Scots take ya prisoner they watch ya like a hawk.

To complicate matters, she was pregnant again, by Bothwell. Moray commenced tearing his hair out when he heard THAT. By Kirk law her marriage to Bothwell was legit & so would this new infant be, tho the Catholics held a different opinion. She couldn't be allowed to keep this kid, either, b/c it might become a sympathetic focal pt for an uprising against Moray's govt & lead to Mary's restoration, & she wasn't likely to keep her bro in charge if that happened.

NOW do ya get why, 11dy6 posts ago, I said the Scots love a good regency? Twas a lot less trouble for em LOL

Moray didn't have to worry long, b/c all the stress did to Mary what Kerr of Fawdonside's pistol hadn't accomplished....she miscarried of twin boys. Go Team Bothwell! I'm impressed w/ him LOL Can you imagine the consternation this would've caused had she carried to term? Three nice little Scots male heirs? They would've crowned her a saint after the drought of em they'd been having since the Longshanks debacle!  Elizabeth would've pouted for yonks.

Then she got that nasty childbed fever thing that so oft carried off queens. The Scots lords created a new death pool posthaste. Alas for their groats, she survived it, whilst Moray's flunkeys hammered at her to abdicate & appoint him regent. Finally she gave in & signed & little James was crowned posthaste.

Elizabeth was shocked & commenced lecturing Moray & pleading for Mary's release from her prison. After all, when he'd rebelled & scampered off to England, SHE hadn't imprisoned HIM, had she? Hadn't she given him nice purses & gotten Sis to take him back? Moray said yeah TYVM for that hon & um NO.

The following yr Moray had some peep publicly executed & the dude made a fabby speech from the scaffold whereby he implicated lots of the lords in Darnley's demise. Hey, if I was secs from losing my head, I'd savor the revenge. Peeps said o maybe we were a little hasty in throwing those rotten tomatoes at her, jeez. Mary got some sympathy. In fact, one of the Douglas peeps, a boy called Pretty Geordie, was so smitten w/ the ex-queen that he helped her escape from Lochleven! And Moray thunk it couldn't be done pffft.

She managed to rally forces but was soundly trounced at the disastrous battle of Langside. Then MQOS decided the bestest thing to do would be to make a run for the border (thru nice friendly Bothwell territory) & throw herself on Elizabeth's mercy. WHY she thunk this when Elizabeth refused to give her safe passage or come to tea at a mutually convenient place or attend her kid's christening, I'm sure I dunno. Her peeps was all WHAT? ARE YOU NUTS? At any rate, she thunk Elizabeth would be nice to her b/c they were fellow queens of this wretched isle & cousins & she was Jemmy's godmother & all, & ignored the advice to make for France or the Low Countries instead.

Elizabeth & Cecil looked at each other & said O SHITE! NOW WHAT? The last thing they wanted was her chief rival begging on the doorstep! Mary thunk she was going to get a nice parade to London to see the queen when she was received w/ shock in Cumberland. Just as soon as Elizabeth got the news she'd come to call, she was sure she'd be on her way. So MQOS settled in to rest & recover from her ordeal under a nice cloth of estate & waited expectantly.

Elizabeth I
the van der Meulen portrait

Instead, Elizabeth dillydallied as she did best LOL She declared she wasn't quite satisfied if Mary had been involved in the Darnley plot & so couldn't receive her until she was satisfied. She crooked her bejeweled little finger at George Talbot, the Earl of Shrewsbury & one of the great Lords of the North.

George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury

Shrewsbury was practically a newlywed, on his 2nd marriage, to Bess of Hardwick.

Bess of Hardwick

She's the peep famous for building "Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall" b/c it has so many windows. Yes, tis still there. And she's an ancestress of the current Duke of Devonshire. She was also soon to be a major player on the Elizabethan stage b/c of that finger-crooking. George was her 4th DH & she had fab inheritances from #s 2 & 3, so she was a great catch despite being 40ish for the groats alone. Elizabeth needed a peep w/ groats. She said to Shrewsbury, help me out, George, I need a huge favor....can you put my cuz Mary up in one of your castles for a spell until we decide what's to be done w/ her?

Natch he smiled & nodded, & then went home to duck the stuff Bess threw at him for agreeing. They were nicely settled btwn Chatsworth & London & George's other places were moldy old castles not fit for a queen at all, so there would need to be refurbushment. Bess was a great refurbisher so she really didn't mind that much, but she wasn't gonna spend her own money on DHs carp. George assured her that Elizabeth was going to send him nice fat cheques, so she traveled north & began remodeling Tutbury Castle as fast as she could manage while George went to Bolton to make nice w/ the Queen of Scots & escort her to her new prison.

Tutbury Castle

Mary was furious when she found out she wasn't getting anywhere near London & why. She wrote to Elizabeth & assured her she had nothing to do w/ Darnley's demise. Elizabeth got a different story from Moray, who handed over to her what's known as the Casket Letters.

The Casket Letters box

A casket was just a box, & a coffin was still just a coffin, so don't get confoozled into thinking Moray dug some peep up LOL The Casket Letters were just in a casket (box) that had supposedly been Bothwell's & contained incriminating docs that continue to cast doubt of Mary's innocence (the originals have disappeared & only copies remain). At the very least she had to know SOMEBODY was gonna take out her idiot DH! Not like anyone wanted him around. Elizabeth had a look-see & announced, "Nothing hath been sufficiently proved whereby the Queen of England could conceive an evil opinion of her good sister". So apparently peeps thunk nuffin of em back in the day.

However, that didn't mean Mary was getting sprung, & most of it was her own fault. Since her marriage to Bothwell hadn't been in the church, it was like it didn't exist for the Catholic crowd. Despite the Elizabethan religious settlement, there were still lotsa Catholics in England. One of the most prominent was (another) Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, son of Henry VIIIs old warhorse buddy. He wasn't married & thunk it would be great if he could hook up w/ MQOS & help her get her throne back.

Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk

This was exactly the sort of thing Cecil & Elizabeth were dreading when Mary set her foot on English soil.....plotting & rebellion. MQOS was 25 when she fled, the same age as Elizabeth had been when she acceded to the throne, & frustrated as all get out that she'd traded one prison for another, tho the English one was lots nicer. Bess was irked b/c Elizabeth (Grandpa Tudor's little darling) conveniently forgot to send money or sent less than she was supposed to, yet insisted Mary could add onto her entourage & be treated w/ a queen's estate. But Mary was pretty much doomed to hang around the castle & Tutbury was a damp old pile of stones no matter how much Bess gussied it up, & in the winter MQOS got sick. She wasn't allowed to go beyond the castle walls for rides or whatever b/c there might be peeps lurking to snatch her out from under Elizabeth's nose. She got bored & entered into a vigorous correspondence w/ what she hoped would be DH #4 & a way out.

Elizabeth scolded Norfolk sharply & told him in no uncertain terms to back off the Scots wench. He smiled & nodded & went right back to writing Mary love letters & scheming to toss that heretic off her throne to clear the road for their wedding. Philip stuck his nose into the planning & before long what was known as the Northern Rebellion had begun, led by Norfolk to free Mary & get rid of Elizabeth.

OFF WITH HIS HEAD! growled Elizabeth when Norfolk was defeated & captured, tho death warrants always sat on her desk for months b4 she'd sign em. Early childhood trauma, ya think? She told MQOS pffft stay right where you are, you can't be trusted. Just b/c you were dumb enough to lose your own throne, you think you're smart enough to steal mine? I don't think so missy!

MQOS sulked & pouted & tried to make nice, to no avail. Elizabeth wasn't budging. But then there came some good news from Scotland to cheer Mary up.....

No comments:

Post a Comment