So Queen Mary of Scotland was beheaded at Fotheringay Castle, showing much bravery and piety. There are many people who still believe that she was really innocent of all that she was accused of, and that she only was ruined by the plots that were laid against her.
Elizabeth’s reign. A.D. 1587—1602.
No reign ever was more glorious or better for the people than Queen Elizabeth’s. It was a time when there were many very great men living —soldiers, sailors, writers, poets—and they all loved and look up to the queen as the mother of her country. There really was nothing she did love like the good of her people, and somehow they all felt and knew it, and “Good Queen Bess” had their hearts—though she was not always right, and had some serious faults.
The worst of her faults was not telling the truth. Somehow kings and rulers had, at that time, learnt to believe that when they were dealing with other countries anything was fair, and that it was not wrong to tell falsehoods to hide a secret, nor to make promises they never meant to keep. People used to do so who would never have told a lie on their own account to their neighbor, and Lord Burleigh and Queen Elizabeth did so very often, and often behaved meanly and shabbily to people who had trusted to their promises. Her other fault was vanity. She was a little woman, with bright eyes, and rather hooked nose, and sandy hair, but she managed to look every inch a queen, and her eye, when displeased, was like a lion’s. She had really been in love with Lord Leicester, and every now and then he hoped she would marry him; indeed, there is reason to fear that he had his wife secretly killed, in order that he might be able to wed the queen; but she saw that the people would not allow her to do so, and gave it up. But she liked to be courted. She allowed foreign princes to send her their portraits, rings, and jewels, and sometimes to come and see her, but she never made up her mind to take them. And as to the gentlemen at her own court, she liked them to make the most absurd and ridiculous compliments to her, calling her their sun and goddess, and her hair golden beams of the morning, and the like; and the older she grew the more of these fine speeches she required of them. Her dress—a huge hoop, a tall ruff all over lace, and jewels in the utmost profusion— was as splendid as it could be made, and in wonderful variety. She is said to have had three hundred gowns and thirty wigs. Lord Burleigh said of her that she was sometimes more than a man, and sometimes less than a woman. And so she was, when she did not like her ladies to wear handsome dresses.