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  • Writer's picturePamela Lawton

Queenly Quest, Quagmire Quelled, Quarantined Queen Quashed

Okay--so I wanted to see how many 'Q' words I could find related to the tragic history of Mary Queen of Scots (not to be confused with 'Bloody' Mary Tudor). A few weeks ago Eric and I took a trip to Holyrood Palace, home of Queen Elizabeth when in Edinburgh. Photographs are not allowed---so we only took pictures of the outside grounds. However, the inside is fascinating. We stood in Mary Queen of Scots small, elaborate bedroom where her secretary, Rizzio, was brutally murdered in front of her. Being in the space was eerie. We also went up the cramped spiral staircase in her room---to the upper level--which was even spookier. Of course I could not resist seeing the new movie about her life while here in Scotland with a group of my scholarly colleagues from IASH [Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities]-- (see trailer below). The movie was poignant and of particular interest to me after having visited both Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace, both sites are featured in the film. It's so interesting the spin people take on a story. What surprised me was the multicultural cast, but our notions of history are racialized, so maybe there were Black people in Queen Elizabeth's court. The English envoy was a Black man and there were Asian women among Elizabeth's Ladies-in-Waiting. I suppose we will never really know the true tale of events--but the movie certainly makes you realize just how precarious the lives of women 'in power' were/are and how men manipulate them.


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