Mary, Queen of Scots Home Page

O my Lord and my God, I have trusted in Thee.
O my dear Jesus, now liberate me.
In shackle and chain, in torture and pain, I long for Thee.
In weakness and sighing, in kneeling and crying,
I adore and implore Thee to liberate me.
Mary Queen of Scots, Wednesday 8th February 1587

It was not until the latter part of the 7th February 1587 that Mary was informed of her official execution the following morning at eight o'clock. She was refused the services of her Catholic priest, De Preau, but offered those of the Protestant Dean of Peterborough which she declined. She was then left alone to spend her last evening with her by now well depleted group of servants. Mary demanded an early supper and appeared serene amidst her servants' tears. She then proceeded to go through all her remaining possessions by distributing them between her servants and some of her foreign relatives. Having done so, she put pen to paper and drafted an elaborate will designed to provide for the welfare of those she was leaving behind. She then wrote a letter to her Chaplain De Preau in lieu of the confession she had been denied. Her second letter was to her brother-in-law, Henri III of France. It was by then two o'clock in the morning and Mary simply lay on her bed fully dressed without attempting to sleep.

Between eight and nine in the morning she was led to the Great Hall of Fotheringhay where she was eventually allowed to have some of her servants present after much pleading and reasoning. Sir James Melville her Secretary, Bourgoing her physician, Jacques Gervais her surgeon, Didier her porter and two of her women, Elizabeth Curle and Jane Kennedy were allowed to attend. She entered the Great Hall dressed in a black satin dress, embroidered with black velvet, and set with black acorn buttons of jet trimmed with purple. On her head she wore a white lace-edged veil flowing down her back to the ground. Her stockings were edged with silver in her black Spanish leather shoes. Her garters were of green silk and her petticoat of crimson velvet. She held a crucifix and prayer book in her hand and two rosaries hung down from her waist; round her neck was her pomander chain and an Agnus Dei.

Click here to continue...

Contemporary sketch of Mary's execution in the Great Hall of Fotheringhay.  Mary is seen entering on the left and being disrobed by her ladies. @ owner, British Library.