Mary Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley

Mary Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord DarnleyI ve been re reading this over the last month.Weir does a good analysis of the whole murder of Darnley, and while she believes Mary to be innocent, she doesn t show the Scots Queen as truly a white sheep The last 100 hunderd pages, however, are a little slow. Alison Weir surpassed herself penning this tome, the first in my opinion to rival Antonia Fraser s 1969 Mary Queen of Scots Via Mary Stuart runs the continuous line of succession, from Plantagenets Tudors, down to England s current royals.Mary has always polarised debate, first when alive and then, through the centuries, from the grave Regardless which account we accept, she cannot be seen as entirely blameless for her unfortunate life It s also beyond question that too much blinkered blame has gone her way, backwards in time.Her murdered second husband Henry, Lord Darnley, was a hideous character who arguably deserved his comeuppance If Mary was privy to his murder plot we can hardly blame her It s an equally short sighted assumption that anyone put in Mary s position would not have conspired towards her liberty when so unjustly imprisoned for so long by Queen Elizabeth I She was viciously provoked, set up and entrapped into her treason against Elizabeth Mary Stuart, great niece of England s King Henry VIII, was 6 days old when her father, King James V of Scotland, died and she acceded to his throne Uniting France and Scotland against conflict with Henry VIII s England, France s King Henry II negotiated little Mary s marriage to his three year old son, the Dauphin Francis Five year old Mary was shipped to France and spent thirteen years at the French royal court.Despite that regal upbringing largely moulding her character, Mary s detractors criticise her limited grasp of her native Scottish subjects who were then, largely, backwater bog and highland dwellers Yet this eventually anointed queen of France had not seen Scotland since being spirited away as an infant.Widowed at eighteen, Mary was no longer wanted in the French court by her mother in law, France s new regent, Catherine de Medici Though she could have retired there in splendour, remarrying any prince in Christendom, Mary instead returned to her homeland to start anew.In vain she reached out to her surly Scottish subjects who, after ceremonial formalities, snubbed her as a high flying foreigner They eyed her with suspicion from the minute she disembarked in her mourning garb, a grown woman and stranger They considered this newly arrived Catholic head of state, in their Protestant land, anomalous This sentiment was fuelled by Protestant reformist preacher John Knox, who vehemently campaigned against Mary.Worse still, she was female.Across the border, her less beautiful but wily cousin, Elizabeth, remained contentiously unwed Resentful of Mary s youth and fecundity, the childless Elizabeth also felt threatened by Mary s strong claim to England s shaky throne.After two short and unpopular marriages, Mary was overthrown and imprisoned in Scotland Eventually escaping, she shaved her head for disguise, donned peasant s clothing and fled, by fishing boat, to England Hoping for Elizabeth s support, Mary was instead imprisoned and held captive for eighteen and a half years.After despairingly plotting towards her liberty making herself complicit in linked plots for Elizabeth s assassination , Mary was entrapped and executed This unprecedented regicide officially triggered the Spanish Armada Catholic Philip of Spain had been waiting for an excuse to take England and curb the spread of Protestantism in Europe As was her final wish, Mary became a Catholic martyr.Mary s apologists argue she was a kind, intelligent woman, a romantic icon of her day She was indeed the subject of sonnet and pros, by Ronsard no less Her beauty and personal charm are legendary Neither her cruellest detractors nor most ardent apologists are fully right or wrong The truth, as always, lies somewhere in the middle This is where Alison Weir s insightful, brilliantly researched and presented account places it The reader is left with a balanced understanding of events while empathising with, and recognising the obvious mistakes of, a desperate woman I loved this book and reread it to reabsorb the literary quality and exquisite detail. This book is essentially an exploration and whodunnit of the murder of Mary, Queen of Scot s second husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, rather than a biography of Mary herself.Mary was certainly an interesting and tragic figure.The book itself is essentially a very interesting expose, and Weir certainly has researched her work and presented her conclusions as to the evidence painstakingly well.The first three chapters of this work are concerned with Mary s early life, her growing up in the French court where she was sent to be educated.Weir touches on the moral laxity of the French court, which she actually go s as far as to refer to as a moral cesspit in which Mary was exposed from an early age to it s promiscuity and corruption.Interestingly there are two paintings that show the teen aged Mary, later to be Queen of France, in the nude.In 1558 the 16 year old Mary was married to the Dauphin who succeeded his father as Francis II the following year.When Francis died in 1560, his mother, the vindictive Catherine de Medici, made it clear that Mary was no longer welcome at the French court, so she returned to her native Scotland, where John Knox was playing a dominant role The Reformation was in full swing but Mary made no attempt to interfere with the new religion, merely insisting that she was to be free to worship as a Catholic.At this stage she had the peoples support.Renowned for her beauty, she was charming, intelligent and talented but she was surrounded by vicious and scheming lords, hungry for power, and got caught up in their intrigues and plots She never had a trustworthy and wise counsellor, like her cousin Elizabeth, to whom she could turn for advice.After a number of princes were considered for her, she eventually agreed to marry her cousin Lord Darnley, the nearest heir after her to the thrones of Scotland and England Beneath his courtly veneer, Darnley was spoiled, wilful, petulant, immature, spiteful, arrogant and uncouth.He seems to have had bisexual tendencies, and Weir premises that he had a homosexual relationship with the Italian courtier and Mary s secretary, David Rizzio.Weir provides evidence that he suffered from syphilis.Further there is evidence that Mary s bouts of ill health were the result of attempted poisoning.Darnley was a key player, perhaps manipulated by a cabal of lords, in the assassination of Rizzio.Of course the main of the book involves Darnley s murder and who was responsible I do believe that Mary was innocent and that her relationship with Bothwell does not in any way implicate her in Darnley s assassination.It is records of meetings with other lords that seem to incriminate Bothwell.Nonetheless Darnley had deeply unpopular figure and was miraculously rehabilitated after his death, only his youth and his cruel end remembered His own crimes and cruelty were forgotten Ironically, he a Catholic who had plotted the overthrow of the Protestant establishment became a figurehead after his death in the propaganda campaign by Protestant Lords against Mary and Bothwell.Many later came to see how badly Mary had been calumniated.While Weir s detailed proof that the casket letters were forged, can be tedious to read, it is a vital part of Weir s detective work in proving Mary s innocence. Alison Weir thoroughly presents and critiques what is known about this complex and murky affair Most of the book is readable, some of it is a page turner, and on some technical parts who was at a meeting legal precedents translation issues it can be a slog Written in 2003, I believe it remains the definitive work on Lord Darnley s murder.Weir covers the main elements of the story with clarity than I have seen anywhere, specifically How Mary came to marry Darnley inclusive of Elizabeth s mixed signals and the possibility of Leicester as a husband the Rizzio murder and after it Mary s attempt to portray a good family up to the birth of James witnesses on the night of the Kirk o Field explosion the cover ups and the power grabs that followed the murder how Bothwell took and used Mary and the civil war that followed The trial in England and Elizabeth s evolving motives A thorough dissection of the Casket Letters particularly how some dates can t be possible and how the words are not Mary s manner of writing.Rather than write a review, I ll make some observations Mary had to living in a constant state of PTSD She lost her father in her first week on earth and was shipped off to France to marry the Dauphin at age 5 By age 18 she was a widowed queen of France and the orphaned Queen of Scotland and or less sent back to rule a land she knew little about and hardly spoke its language Her second husband, for whom she fought a civil war, was most likely alcoholic and syphilitic, sleeping with men and women and had tried to kill her or maybe just get her to abort their child by having her lute player stabbed 50 times while she watched at gunpoint This is just the start Both Mary and Darnley were 6 feet tall There has to be something to this, perhaps in Mary s falling in love, and the people s awe of their towering royal couple Mary s imprisonment saved her life The nobles can quickly raise armies with thousands of soldiers at what seems to be a day or two notice How is this done Mary spent very little time with her baby James, and until captivity, seems not to miss him What should be expected of an 18 year old monarch, raised to dance, smile and embroider For centuries people believed in the divine right of kings Mary wasn t the first to let her sense of entitlement to ruin her life. I have encountered yet another historical work that bears accurately the maxim that truth is indeed stranger than fiction I m sure that the master of Scottish historical fiction, Sir Walter Scott would struggle to concoct a dastardly series of plots that Alison Weir sets to untangle in her 2003 publication, Mary, Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley In fact it is a piece of Scott s verse which springs to mind, that sums up this book precisely Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive After a span of four hundred and fifty years, this epic conspiracy theory can be laid to rest as a conspiracy fact I finished this read on November the fifth, a day celebrated in England after Guy Fawkes s Gunpowder Plot But here is Scotland s original, perhaps even the inspiration for Catesby s treason With Peter Falk like tenacity, Weir has hounded down the truth, exposed the guilty parties and to quote the books review from the Observer, this is a monumental piece of historical detective work Of course, history shows that as a captive Queen, frustrated and foolish, Mary lost her head at Fotheringay after dabbling in the Ridolfi, Throckmorton and Babington plots However before the years of incarceration in England, Mary Queen of Scots became entangled in Scottish plots resulting in the Rizzio murder, the Darnley murder, the Bothwell marriage and finally her forced abdication.Historians down the centuries have swallowed the bait, hook, line and sinker Such is the complexity woven into the thread of sixteenth century power politics, the reader has to keep the eye on the ball I ve had to re read many pages to keep my nose on the trail, and there are over five hundred pages here, but what a worth while read. This book is partly a biography of Mary Queen of Scots, and partly an indepth examination of the source material surrounding the explosive murder of her second husband, Lord Darnley, with some conclusions over who was involved.I have been slowly ploughing through this over long book Although the title focusses on the murder of Lord Darnley, the early chapters are of a biography as they go in great depth through Mary s early life and the actual murder comes quite late on in the book Then there is a rather elaborate and lengthy examination of the source material surrounding the events, with the same conclusion Mary is innocent being made over and over again.The book is complicated further by the reams of reams of different names of Lords etc, who all seem to have names beginning either with M or B Mar, Maitland, Moray, Morton, Bothwell, Buchanan etc Although this is obviously not Weir s fault, and some attempt has been made to rectify this through an introductory section on each of the key figures, this doesn t really help when you are reading through the mire, as you have to keep flicking backwards and forwards to work out which person is now being considered.However, the book wasn t all bad As someone who has studied this period of history before, it was refreshing to realise, for example, that Elizabeth I wasn t always hostile towards Mary, indeed she seems to have been positively encouraging in the early years of her reign There were some other little gems and snippets, and the chapter surrounding the murder itself was very thrilling and exciting.This might be a book to dip into, rather than read cover to cover, as a lot of the material seems to be covered repeatedly so that it did become a bit too much for me, but I managed to persevere to the bitter end. Normally, I love Alison Weir s books The reader can always count on extensive research and astute reasoning, but this one was a slog We re talking about one of the most perplexing historical figures of all time in Mary, Queen of Scots and yet, it just dragged on And on and on.She was the bosom serpent The 16th Century Princess Diana of her day Emotional, needy, irrational, and limelight loving, she just couldn t handle the heat Her first husband was the King of France and her second was found dead after his abode blew apart in the middle of the night though he himself was not blown apart Who actually killed Lord Darnley History always seemed to be written by the powerful Tudors, so Mary probably received too much blame, but she didn t appear to be the brightest stalk in the field.Granted, there is excitement in the beginning, as we learn of her early life and the constant non stop intrigues of the always false Scot Lords Then it all bogs down, as Weir tries to convince us of Mary s non compliance Yes, I get that Buchanan and Knox and Morton and Moray were her enemies and lied I just didn t need several hundred pages of the he said she said paragraphing In fact, the most exciting character in the book is Lord Bothwell, who was Mary s, and Scotland s, one loyal subjectuntil he raped her and married herand then died stark, raving mad in a horrible Swedish dungeon Poor Mary.Book Season Winter Snow Scotland Enough said Like a couple of other readers, I could not finish this book I retreated at the half way mark It is without doubt a well researched book, but I had a lot of trouble keeping up with the Scottish nobles, getting confused about the Huntley s, Hamilton s, Maitland s, Melville s, Moray s, and then they were all related by marriage at some point it seemed I think that personally, I might be better served by reading historical fiction about Mary, as the personalities are better shown by dialogue and might assist in understanding the motives of these characters in getting involved in the political machinations that unfolded I do appreciate the research undertaken to write this book, and may revist it at a later date. Had I known the degree of excruciating research that must have stood at the base of this book and the arduous account it produced, I don t think I would have purchased this book.But chance guides ones life, including that delicious part of it our books and our reading I used to live in a place where bookstores rarely offered the books one sought instead they presented surprises Visiting these shops was twice as fun I always came out with treasured and unexpected purchases This was one of them.It has sat however, for several years in my bookshelves, but as I am in dire need of book space I am pulling out and giving priority to the bulkier ones Once read, I will give them away So, I finally took this big tome out.I must confess that I have been about to abandon the read than once, for I found the extremely detailed account in excess to what I wanted to learn Neurotic that I am, however, I persevered, and am glad because I could then come to admire Alison Weir s extraordinary feat.First, there is the extraordinary research she has conducted on what must be one of the most intractable episodes in Western renaissance history, the assassination of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, second husband of Mary Stuart Weir has done so in great order, presenting us the succession of events literally on a day by day basis, questioning, at every node of a decision tree, the alternatives, the sources, the interpretations, etc I don t understand how she did not lose her wits.And the second reason to hold Weir in high esteem is that she undertook the investigation believing one thing but as she advance in examining and questioning the evidence she changed her mind This open mindedness and flexibility in her reasoning are highly commendable.If she had first thought that Mary was guilty of the assassination of her husband, she ended up absolving her This book is thus her exculpation.It would have suited my interest better a biography that had dealt with Mary s complete life, rather than concentrate so much on this ghastly episode and also one that presented a broader look at Mary s world Nonetheless, Weir does succeed in portraying a convincing Mary My idea of her now is of a too idealistic and foolish woman, inept at politics and for whom becoming Queen was a fatal tragedy And it felt disheartening to see her embroiling herself and into a trap that grew as a spider web, trapping her further and further Best Ebook, Mary Queen Of Scots And The Murder Of Lord Darnley Author Alison Weir This Is Very Good And Becomes The Main Topic To Read, The Readers Are Very Takjup And Always Take Inspiration From The Contents Of The Book Mary Queen Of Scots And The Murder Of Lord Darnley, Essay By Alison Weir Is Now On Our Website And You Can Download It By Register What Are You Waiting For Please Read And Make A Refission For You

Librarian Note There is than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.Alison Weir is a British writer of history books for the general public, mostly in the form of biographies about British kings and queens, and of historical fiction Before becoming an author, Weir worked as a teacher of children with special needs She received her formal training in history at teacher training

[Read] ➲ Mary Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley Author Alison Weir –
  • Paperback
  • 736 pages
  • Mary Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley
  • Alison Weir
  • English
  • 03 July 2018
  • 9780812971514

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