November 29th, 2008

gebealogy, genealogy

More primary source material leading to a biography

Another one of my ancestor's letters to William Cecil, later Lord Burghley, this time describing his visit to the captive Mary Queen of Scots - one of the few relatively neutral accounts of her lifestyle. I can't get a precise date for this visit but the letter was written on 26 February 1569. At the time Mary Queen of Scots was 26 and had been in exile for not quite a year; she had been moved to Tutbury Castle only a few weeks before White's visit. By his own account, White goaded Mary rather nastily on several issues - about the recent death of Catherine Knollys, a close friend of Elizabeth I's whose husband had been one of Mary's custodians; on Scottish intervention in Ireland; and about the dubious morality of painting. Not surprisingly she cut off the conversation abruptly. Despite this White found her rather fascinating - "she hath withall an alluring grace, a prety Scottishe accente, and a searching wit, clouded with myldnes" - and recommended that she should not be allowed contact with too many people in case they might succumb to her charms. Of course, nobody at this stage could have known that Mary's captivity would continue for another 18 years, ending only with her execution in 1587.

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