Queen Elizabeth I of England and Mary Queen of Scots had red hair and spoke five languages. They were cousin and female leaders in a male world. But the lives of these two women were very different.
Elizabeth’s early years were hard. When she was born in 1533, her father, Henry VIII, was angry because his new child was a daughter, he wanted a son so he executed Elizabeth’s mother and married again. In 1533, Elizabeth’s Catholic half-sister, Mary Tudor, became queen. She put Elizabeth in prison because she was a Protestant. When Mary died in 1558, Elizabeth became Queen of England. People wanted her to marry and have children. She was secretly in love with a man called Robert Dudley but she never became his wife and she never married. She was an intelligent woman and she lend the country for over forty-five years. England became rich and strong. It was a very exciting period of discovery and a ‘Golden Age’ in English history for painting, music, architecture and literature. Shakespeare wrote great plays in this period.
Mary Stuart became Queen of Scotland in 1542 when she was six days old. When she was a girl of five, Mary went to live in France. She married the King of France’s son, Francis, when she was fifteen and became Queen of France the next year. When she was eighteen, Francis died and in 1561 Mary Stuart sailed back to Scotland.
Mary was not a successful leader. She married her cousin, Lord Darnley, and had a son, James, but Darnley was violent and jealous. He murdered Mary’s Italian secretary Rizzio. After Darnley died, Mary fell in love with and married the Earl of Bothwell. Then the Protestant nobles of Scotland rebelled against Mary and put her in prison. Mary was a Catholic and they did not like her husbands.
In 1568, Mary escaped to England. She asked her cousin, Elizabeth, for help but Elizabeth put Mary in prison because she was dangerous for her. Some people wanted the Catholic Mary to be Queen of England. In 1587, Elizabeth ordered the execution of her cousin, Mary.