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The End of A Queen

Mary Queen of Scots

The End of A Queen

This remarkable account of the execution of Mary Queen of Scots, was written by an eye-witness of the pro-ceedings, Samuel Tomascon, who communicated it to the great mercantile house, the Fuggera of Augsburg, whose agent he was.

The Earl of Kent said to Mary: "Madame, I am grieved on your account to hear of this superstition from you and to see that which is in your hand." She said it was seemly that she should hold the figure of Christ in her hand thereby to think of Him. Thereupon he answered that she must have Christ in her heart, and further said that though she made demur in paying heed to the mercies vouchsafed to her by God All-Highest, they would nevertheless plead for her with God Almighty, that He would forgive her sins and receive her into His Kingdom.

Thereto the Queen made reply: "Pray, then will I also pray." Then the afore-said Doctor fell on his knees on the steps of the dais and read in an over-loud voice a fervent and godly prayer for her, most suitable to such an occasion, also for the Queen of England and the welfare of the Kingdom. All those standing round repeated the prayer. But as long as it lasted the Queen was praying in Latin and fairly audibly, holding the crucifix in her hand.

When the prayer was now ended on both sides, the executioner knelt in front of the Queen. Him she forgave his deed, as also all those who lusted after her blood, or desired her death. She further forgave all and sundry and craved from God that He might also forgive her own trespasses. Thereafter she fell on her knees in ardent supplication and besought the remission of her sins. She said that she trusted to be saved through the death of Christ and His Blood and that she was ready to have her own blood spilt at His feet, wherefore she held His picture and the crucifix in her hands. Further she prayed for a happy, long and prosperous reign for the Queen of England, for the prosperity of the British Isles, for the afflicted Christian Church and the end of all misery. She also prayed for her son, the King of Scots, for his upright and honourable Government and of his conversion to the Catholic Faith. At the last she prayed that all the saints in heaven might intercede for her on this day, and that God of His great goodness might avert great plagues from this Island, forgive her her sins and receive her 'soul into His heavenly hand.

Thereupon she stood up and prepared herself for death. She doffed her jewels and her gown, with the help of two women. When the executioner wished to assist her, she said to him that it was not her wont to be disrobed in the presence of such a crowd, nor with the help of such handmaidens. She herself took off her robe and pushed it down as far as the waist. The bodice of the underskirt was cut low and tied together at the back. She hastened to undo this.

Thereafter she kissed her ladies, commending them to God, and because one of them was weeping too loudly, she said to her: "Have I not told you that you should not weep? Be comforted. "To her she gave her hand, and bade her leave the dais. When she was thus prepared, she turned to her servitors, who were kneeling not far off, blessed them and made them to pray for her. Afterwards she fell on her knees with great courage, did not change colour, and likewise gave no sign of fear. As she knelt down she repeated the 70th Psalm. When she had said this to the end, she, full of courage, bent down with her body and laid her head on the block, exclaiming : " In manus tuas, Domine, com-mendo spiritum meum." Then one of the executioners held down her hands, and the other cut off her head with two strokes of the chopper. Thus ended her life.

The executioner took the head and showed it to the people, who cried: "God spare our Queen of England !" When the executioner held up the head, it fell in disarray so that it could be seen that her hair was quite grey and had been closely cropped. Her raiment and other belongings were by command taken from the executioner, but he was promised their equivalent in money. Everything that had been sprinkled with her blood, also the garments of the executioner and other objects, were promptly taken away and washed. The planks of the dais, the black cloth and all else were thrown into the fire, at once, so that no superstitious practices could be carried on therewith. Her body was carried out, embalmed and made ready for burial. Where this will take place is as yet unknown. Her servants and courtiers were instructed to abide there until her remains had been honourably laid to rest. She was four-and-forty years of age, and was the most beautiful princess of her time.

From " The Fugger News Letters."

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