Saturday, October 29, 2011

Question from Esther - Unsigned warrant for Elizabeth's execution

The "Lion's Cub" episode of "Elizabeth R" shows that, while Elizabeth was imprisoned in the Tower, an warrant for her execution was sent to the people in charge, unsigned by the queen. (they refused to act on it). Does anyone know if such a thing actually occurred, and if so, what sources refer to it?


Mary R said...

Good question, Esther! I loved the series you are talking about. I looked into this a bit, and found no actual documentation regarding the "almost" execution of Elizabeth. Then again, I don't have the resources that some of the others on this site do.

I am an American, and a lot of the truly good books on the Tudors are not readily (or inexpensively) available here; and while the Brits are treated to David Starkey on their televisions, we are lucky to get " The Madness of Henry VIII" or something equally insipid, on the History Channel!

That is why I love this site so much!

Now, back to your question, I can see the fanatics during Mary,s reign wanting to get rid of Elizabeth once and for all, but who would have the courage to carry out this warrant of execution without Mary's signature?

Could this incident have happened? Possibly, yes. Probably, no:)

Foose said...

I haven't watched the series for a long time, but possibly the writers introduced this incident (I haven't seen it anywhere else) to foreshadow the later chicanery with Mary Queen of Scots' execution - the queen reportedly kept hinting and urging Mary's keepers to put her to death without a warrant, while delaying signing the warrant, and then after the execution denied that she meant the signed warrant to be used, and accused her servants of deceiving her.

In other words, it might have been an artistic decision to draw a thematic parallel between the young Elizabeth, in fear for her life from a Queen Mary, at the mercy of the queen's crafty servants, to the old Elizabeth, in fear for her life from another Queen Mary, who in turn is at the mercy of the queen's crafty servants.

But I can't remember anything about the execution of Mary Stuart in the series, so I may be wrong.

Mary R said...

At this point, all I can think of is Henry II saying "Will no one rid me of this priest?"

There is nothing like plausible deniability!