Source 3

Extract from a letter from Elizabeth I to Mary (SP 52/13/71)


Madame, to be plain with you, our grief has not been small that in this your marriage so slender consideration has been had that, as we perceive manifestly, no good friend you have in the whole world can like thereof, and if we should otherwise write or say we should abuse you.  For how could a worse choice be made for your honour that in such haste to marry such a subject, who besides other and notorious lacks, public fame has charged with the murder of your late husband

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5. This is a letter allegedly from Mary Queen of Scots to Bothwell.

  • If the letter is really from Mary to Bothwell, who is the ‘he’ Mary keeps referring to?
  • What does Mary want Bothwell to do with the letter?
  • What warnings does Mary give Bothwell?
  • Who is his ‘humble and faithful lover’?
  • What could Mary mean when she says ‘who shortly hopes to be another thing unto you’?
  • Does the letter show Mary plotting with Bothwell to kill Darnley? Give reasons to back up your answer.
  • Why do you think Bothwell did not burn the letter as Mary asks?
  • Do you think we can trust this letter as evidence?