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Two Queens in One Isle: The Deadly Relationship of Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots Paperback – 24 Jun 1999
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The relationship between Queen Elizabeth I of England and her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots is a complex one, they were united by blood but divided by religion. Championed by continental and underground English Catholics as the rightful Queen of England, Mary was nevertheless given protection by her cousin after she was deposed amid outrage at her immoral behaviour. Rumours of Papist plots revolving around Mary abounded and Elizabeth was put under extreme pressure to be rid of this dangerous threat to her sovereignty and to the Protestant church in England, but it was only after much reluctance and procrastination that Elizabeth finally signed Mary's long-drafted death warrant. The story of their relationship is narrated here, and analyzed. Alison Plowden shows how political fear brought about the worst and the best in the two queens.
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It was interesting, informative and does reward you for your effort with a sense that you probably have a good grounding in the situation that ultimately led to the execution of one Queen, the childless death of another Queen and the joining of two Kingdoms to form the United Kingdom.
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I've read a few of her other books and they're all wonderful. But this one gives you more than just the stereotypical story you hear "Elizabeth felt threatened. Elizabeth had Mary beheaded." Plowden goes into great depth to show why the decision was so hard on Elizabeth and gave more than just the cursory examintion of Mary's character.
Wonderful read - not just for a class but for pleasure-reading as well!