Elizabeth I was reluctant to sign Mary's death warrant. Eventually, it was presented to her in a large pile of papers that she signed without reading. On 8 February 1587, Mary, Queen of Scots was executed at Fotheringhay Castle. She wore a blood red bodice, symbolising Catholic martyrdom.

James VI had Fotheringhay destroyed after he became King of England, where he was known as James I. He united the two nations, and had Mary and Elizabeth buried side by side in Westminster Abbey.

First broadcast:
25 January 2002

Debate the extent to which Mary’s death was a result of her Catholicism and discuss the division between Catholics and Protestants that continued into James VI and I’s reign.