On This Day: Mary, Queen of Plots

Accused of planning the assassination of her cousin Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots stood trial for treason on 14th October, 1586.

Mary’s coded letters, delivered to her co-conspirators in beer barrels, had been intercepted by Sir Francis Walsingham, who had deciphered and copied them and built a case against the former Scottish monarch.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how Mary had come to be exiled in not one, but two, palaces; consider her pleas of innocence, in the light of her apparent propensity for plotting; and paint a memorable picture of her decapitation at the hands of the State… 

Further Reading:

• ‘Mary, Queen of Scots: Life Story (The Babington Plot)’, (Tudor Times, 2017): https://tudortimes.co.uk/people/mary-queen-of-scots-life-story/the-babington-plot

• ‘Facts about the execution of Mary Queen of Scots’ (History Scotland, 2020):


• ‘The Babington Plot’ (Russel Tarr, 2020): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1siZxHuzkdU

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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

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