During the sixteenth century there where many conflicts which occurred between Catholics and Protestants. The Kings and Queens of England especially kept on changing between both religions. This made it very difficult for the people of England to choose a religion because laws kept on getting changed in regard to practicing religion. When Elizabeth I became Queen she became the new defender of the faith, thus making Protestantism the official religion. One of the harshest parts of Elizabeth's reign was the whole Mary, Queen of Scots, ordeal. Mary was Elizabeth's cousin and next in line to the throne. Of course Mary was Catholic and that is what made the whole issue an issue. This paper will talk about Elizabeth's involvement in the tragic story of Mary, Queen of Scots and the events which led to the execution of Mary.
Elizabeth's involvement in the tragic story of Mary, Queen of Scots was possibly the harshest experience of her long reign. Mary had been brought up in the French Court and was married to the Dauphin who became King Francis II a year after Elizabeth's accession to the thrown. 1 Two years later Mary's husband prematurely died and Mary reluctantly returned to Scotland as a youthful widow. 2 Mary's arrival posed an obvious threat to Elizabeth and the recently established Protestant settlement in England, for the presence of an obvious Catholic was likely to attract the support of Catholics on both sides of the border. 3 Mary was also a great-grand-daughter of Henry VII and therefore an heir apparent to the English thrown. 4 Although Elizabeth refused to recognize her cousin's claims to the throne, her policy was to find a working relationship between them. They kept on friendly terms and wrote letters to each other, although they never met. 5 By 1565 Mary had tired of her widowed state and she married her cousin Henry Darnley. Both Mary and Darnley shared a common grandmother, Margaret