Sketch of Mary Queen of Scots, c.June 1567 (SP 52/13 f.60)
Mary paid a heavy price for her impetuous marriage to James, Earl of Bothwell. Not only did she forfeit her crown, but her reputation. In this allegorical sketch, the fallen Scottish queen is depicted as a mermaid, a symbol of prostitution. Elizabeth made the most of her rival’s disgrace and promoted herself even more vigorously as the virtuous Virgin Queen. It was a vindication of the personal sacrifices that she had made in the interests of her country.