As well as being Queen of Scots and Queen Consort of France, Mary Stuart had a claim on the English throne. This presented a possibility that a catholic empire could be created across the three nations. But Elizabeth I was to become Queen of England instead. The reason for this is explained in terms of nationality, family dynasties and religion. The conflict that the Reformation led to across Europe is exemplified by the Protestant attack on Chateau d'Amboise and its violent suppression.
Lead the class through an exploration of the intertwined family trees of the Stewarts and Tudors and focus in particular on the competing claims of Mary and Elizabeth to the English throne. Students should consider the links between religion and power that lie behind these claims and consider and the importance that issues relating to Elizabeth’s legitimacy and Henry VIII’s marriages played.
Discuss the European Reformation, its spread, the threat it posed to Europe’s monarchy’s and the violence of its suppression.