The Death of Mary, Queen of Scots

“You are…Mary, Queen of Scots?”
“I am.”

<SMASH> <CRASH> Yelling <BASH> <POW> Screaming <CLANG>

“I think she’s dead.”
“No I’m not.”

<SMASH> <CRASH> Yelling <BASH> <POW> Screaming <CLANG>

  • Monty Python
    In more seriousness:

Executed at Fotheringay Castle on February 8, 1587 for suspicion of conspiracy to murder Queen Elizabeth I.

From Wikipedia:
“The execution was badly carried out — some accounts say the executioner was drunk and it is said to have taken three blows to hack off her head. After the first axe blow, she is supposed to have said, her throat slashed, “Executioner, achieve your work!” There are various other stories about the execution, but one that is consistently heard is that, when the executioner picked up the severed head to show it to those present, it was discovered that Mary had (as she always did) worn a wig. The headsman was left holding a bloody mop of hair, while the late queen’s head–the lips still moving in prayer–rolled on the floor. Another incident was the discovery of Mary’s little Skye Terrier, which had been concealed in her skirts and ran out in panic after she was beheaded. It took several washings to get his mistress’ blood out of the dog’s fur.”

I love those little Skye Terriers.

Announcer: That was episode two of “The Death of Mary, Queen of Scots”, specially adapted for radio by Gracie Fields and Joe Frazier. And now, Radio Four will explode.

Something I’ve always wondered: why was Mary, Queen of Scots called Mary, Queen of Scots and not Queen Mary of Scotland?


“Oh, dear. The radio’s exploded.”
“Well, what’s on the television, then?”
“Looks like a penguin.”

From what I can gather, the kings of Scotland were also referred to this way. For example: Malcolm, King of Scots.

It may have something to do with the fact that very early on in that region there were kings of the Picts as well, so the terms ‘King of Scots’ and ‘King of Picts’ may have been used to distinguish them.

crosses his fingers and hopes someone with more knowledge will shed some light on this intriguing question

This is because the Scottish royalty were considered to be king/queen of the people, not the geographic area. Robert the Bruce (for example) is more properly referred to as Robert I, King of Scots, and I think the tradition came from long before his time, and, by extension, quite a long time before Mary. Anyone know when this became the practice, and if it still continues (Is Elizabeth considered “Queen of Scots” or merely Queen of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland?)

Elizabeth is Queen of England, or of Scotland or Scots, only in the sense that she is Queen of Quebec or Queen of Queensland. Anne Stuart was the last Queen of Scots and the first Queen of Great Britain.

“I didn’t mean what’s on the television set, I meant what program.”


I’m just going by the way she’s introduced…I don’t remember how it’s phrased, but she is often referred to as “Elizabeth the Second, Queen of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, etc, etc, etc…” followed by every title she holds. I’m pretty sure she is, in fact, considered to be the Queen of England (though you may not see it that way), and since the Act of Union, that also means she’s the Queen where Scotland is concerned. I’m just not sure if she’s properly referred to (as proper etiquette) as Queen of Scots, or if that title has been abandoned.

Oh, intercourse the penguin!

Shortly before Her Majesty was crowned in June, 1953, she published her official styles and title by proclamation dated May 28, 1953 in the London Gazette (reprinted in Halsbury’s Laws of England Vol. 8, Constitutional Law, para 870). It was as follows:

No mention of either England or Scotland, because the official name of the country is the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.”

Note that she has a different title in each of her Commonwealth realms. For example, her official title in Canada is set out in the Royal Styles and Title Act, s. 2, as follows:

“It’s 11:30 and time for the penguin on top of your television to explode.”{KABOOM!!!}

“How did he know that was going to happen?”

“It was an inspired guess.”

No, she is not. England ceased to be a kingdom in 1707 with the Act of Union, and that’s all there is to it.

If someone introduces her this way, they are simply incorrect, just as incorrect as if they referred to Adrienne Clarkson as the Governor General of Alberta, or to George Bush as the President of Wyoming.

Annoncer: “It’s 1:00 and time for BZEEEEOOOOOOooooooooooooooo-WAP
“Well, this sure is an intersesting evening.”

True, but you need to be careful to avoid the pious Scottish myth that there was something peculiarly Scottish about this. The title ‘King of Scots/the Scots’ dated back to the eleventh century when the form ‘King of the [insert tribal name here]’ was a common one throughout Western Europe.

Yes, and the title King/Queen of Scots had ceased to be used even earlier. From 1603 Mary’s son, James VI and I, was ‘King of Scotland, England…’ in Scotland (although, of course, James himself preferred ‘King of Great Britain’).

If it layed an egg. it would fall down the back of the television.

We’ll have to watch that. Unless it’s a male.

Hm. I hadn’t thought about that. It looks fairly butch.

Albert is King of the Belgians today, and Louis-Philippe was King of the French.