Neil Oliver describes the events leading up to the death of Mary, Queen of Scots. Imprisoned and having lost everything, Mary decided to join a plot against Elizabeth I. When this was discovered, she was tried for treason and sentenced to death. Her son, James found himself in the difficult position of trying to save his mother, but without losing his assumed place to succeed to the English throne.
The clip can lead to exploration of the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth. Look at the options available to Elizabeth and their outcomes. What would or could happen if she returned Mary to Scotland, allowed her to remain free in England or kept her in prison? Consider how the papal bull of 1570, Regnans in Excelsis, changed the situation.
Students should consider the option open to Mary. Aside from plotting against Elizabeth, were there any other ways she could have ended her imprisonment?
The class could also use this clip to examine and evaluate the difficulties faced by James VI of Scotland in balancing the need to extricate his mother from possible execution versus his need to remain on good terms with Elizabeth I.