Scotland has one true ruler, Mary, Queen of Scots, daughter of James V, crowned on her sixth day and appointed not by the Pope, but the Almighty Himself. It is my duty, my God-given birthright and my crown. And I will defend it from anyone who attempts to take it.
“At Fotheringhay on the evening of 7 February 1587, Mary was told that she was to be executed the next morning. She spent the last hours of her life in prayer, distributing her belongings to her household, and writing her will and a letter to the King of France.The scaffold that was erected in the Great Hall was two feet high and draped in black. It was reached by two or three steps and furnished with the block, a cushion for her to kneel on and three stools, for her and the earls of Shrewsbury and Kent, who were there to witness the execution.The executioners (one named Bull and his assistant) knelt before her and asked forgiveness, as it was typical for the executioner to ask the pardon of the one being put to death. She replied, “I forgive you with all my heart, for now, I hope, you shall make an end of all my troubles."Her servants, Jane Kennedy and Elizabeth Curle, and the executioners helped Mary to remove her outer garments, revealing a velvet petticoat and a pair of sleeves in crimson brown, the liturgical colour of martyrdom in the Catholic Church, with a black satin bodice and black trimmings. As she disrobed she smiled and said that she "never had such grooms before … nor ever put off her clothes before such a company”.She was blindfolded by Kennedy with a white veil embroidered in gold, knelt down on the cushion in front of the block, on which she positioned her head, and stretched out her arms. Her last words were, In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum (“Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit”).[Copy of Mary’s death mask in Falkland Palace. Mary was not beheaded with a single strike. The first blow missed her neck and struck the back of her head. The second blow severed the neck, except for a small bit of sinew, which the executioner cut through using the axe. Afterwards, he held her head aloft and declared, “God save the Queen.” At that moment, the auburn tresses in his hand turned out to be a wig and the head fell to the ground, revealing that Mary had very short, grey hair. A small dog owned by the queen, a Skye Terrier, is said to have been hiding among her skirts, unseen by the spectators. Following the beheading, it was covered in her blood and refused to be parted from its owner’s body until it was forcibly taken away and washed. Items supposedly worn or carried by Mary at her execution are of doubtful provenance; contemporary accounts state that all her clothing, the block, and everything touched by her blood was burnt in the fireplace of the Great Hall to obstruct relic-hunters.”