The above woodcut depicts Mary's execution at Fortheringhay Castle in 1587. To the left, you can see Mary's ladies in waiting obviously upset by her death. Throughout Mary's life she had 4 close friends referred to as the "4 Marys". They were; Mary Beaton, Mary Seton, Mary Fleming and Mary Livngstone. (although there may have been more servants named Mary, these four were the main ones in Mary's life) Mary Seton shared Mary's captitity for 15 years and may have been at her execution. To the farther left, Mary's clothes are being burned.
Mary was reportedly a great beauty standing at 6 feet tall with reddish auburn hair. Although portraits often flattered the sitter, a death mask can provide clues as to a royal person's true appearance. A death mask is a wax or plaster mold of the person’s face taken at the time of his or her death. To the left is Mary's death mask.
Some of the most famous death masks were made by Madame Tussaud during the French Revolution. Madame Tussaud made a wax molding of Marie Antoinette’s head right after it was chopped off. Typically, a death mask was always made within 24 hours of the royal ruler's death. Artists had to be quick about it because the body would quickly decompose. Who would want to be remembered with rotting flesh and maggots stuck to their face? I sure wouldn't.
The above placard was circulated throughout Edinburgh after Mary's marriage to Bothwell. The placard shows Mary's initials surrounding a mermaid. It may look like an innocent sketch, but the mermaid was a symbol for a prostitute. The hare was the badge for Bothwell's family.
The swords surrounding the hare represent Bothwell's involvement in the murder of Mary's second husband, Lord Darnley.
The Final Farewell
On page 29, there is a distant figure waving to Mary Queen of Scots. This lone rider depicts, Mary's third husband, The Earl of Bothwell. Mary had agreed to hand herself over to the Scottish nobles in exchange for Bothwell's safe passage to Dunbar Castle. This would be the last time Mary saw Bothwell. The people that had onced loved and admired their queen now screamed obsenities and shouts of, "burn the whore."