La última carta de María Estuardo

Clémence Poésy, en el papel de María Estuardo, Reina de Escocia, en un drama de la BBC
Image caption Clémence Poésy, en el papel de María Estuardo, Reina de Escocia, en un drama de la BBC

Mary Queen of Scots' last letter

The last letter written by Mary Queen of Scots hours before her execution has gone on public display in Edinburgh this week. It is on show for just seven days and could then be locked away for a generation to prevent it from being damaged.

Reporter: Colin Blane

Listen to the story

Mary's life was a dizzying mix of romance and revenge. She was Queen of Scots, briefly Queen of France and aspired to be Queen of England too. She was sentenced to death for plotting against her cousin Queen Elizabeth. She wrote - in French - a final letter to the King of France:

Royal brother, having by God's will for my sins, I think, thrown myself into the power of the Queen my cousin, I have finally been condemned to death by her and her estates. Tonight, after dinner, I have been advised of my sentence. I am to be executed like a criminal at eight in the morning.

Six hours later Mary was beheaded. The Director of Collections at the National Library of Scotland, Kate Newton, says her last letter was remarkable:

Kate Newton: 'If you look at the handwriting it seems very composed, very calm. She goes through reasserting her Catholic faith, reasserting her right to the English crown, but she's also looking at her servants and making arrangements for them to have their wages paid after her execution, so it's really extraordinary that she was able to think about that, as well as everything else, in view of her impending execution only a few hours later.'

The Mary Queen of Scots' letter is in a glass case, it's about A4 size. The interesting thing is that it's quite gloomy in the room because of the fear that too much light could cause the ink on the letter to fade away.

Mary was 45 when she died but her line, like her letter, survived. The Stuarts endured for another hundred years.

Colin Blane, BBC News, Edinburgh

Listen to the words

a dizzying mix una mezcla extravagante (de romance y venganza)

plotting againstconspirar contra (su prima la Reina Isabel I)


very composed muy tranquila

she goes through reasserting(en su carta) reafirmando/reiterando

in view of her impending executiondada su inminente ejecución


to fade awayapagarse lentamente

her line su línea (de sucesión)

endured perduró