The Last Letter of Mary, Queen of Scots

On 8 February 1587, Mary, Queen of Scots was executed at Fotheringhay Castle. She was 44 years old and had been imprisoned for nearly twenty years. She had been informed on 7 February that her sentence was to be carried the next morning and she had spent most of the intervening time at prayer. At 2 in the morning she wrote a letter to her one-time brother-in-law, now Henri III of France. The letter survives and is stored in the National Library of Scotland, in Edinburgh. It can be viewed online here along with a transcription of the French and English translation.

In the letter, Mary claims that she is to die for her faith, that she is innocent of any crimes and asks Henri to provide for her servants. She also wishes him a long and healthy life. He would follow her to the grave less than three years later at the age of 37.

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