British Courts Were Only Just Releasing Letters From Mary’s Last Years, Until Now

The courts of the United Kingdom have found themselves at the center of a scandal after the life of the Mary Queen of Scots was published. She is of course a historic figure in its own right, but she was the subject of a real-life retelling through the new Amazon Prime series The Royal We. During the show’s run, the late queen’s real-life letters were revealed. But only now were those letters made public, and in full!

The stories of Mary’s final years and the role her husband, the French King Francis Xavier, played in her affairs have always been there, but to a limited degree. The series focuses on Francis’s resistance to Mary’s attempts to return to Scotland after a seven-year exile. The show features both Mary and Francis’ letters, read by actor Jack Lowden, as well as behind-the-scenes footage that shows how they were uncovered and collected. It’s an interesting fact of life, but by far the least interesting thing about the show.

It’s remarkable that it took the courts over a century to finally release Mary’s letters, which were discovered in 2006. However, her last sentence was exposed just two days after the series began streaming on Friday. Written after her death by her last chamberlain, Colin Dilworth, the letter announced Mary’s final rest with a “happy and peaceful death,” according to CNN.

In September of 1603, Francis defrocked Mary, held her illegally in his court in France, and ordered her to remain there. The fact that the document revealed Mary’s last wish for her death was even more impressive, given that most other documents in her possession were either stolen or destroyed.

As many historical figures go to the gallows in 15 minutes, the fact that Mary was last kept under court order for months shows just how extraordinary her case was. Many began to question the whole concept of execution nearly two centuries after Mary was buried in France. Was it even fair?

Jessie Waszak was a contributor to CBS News. You can follow her on Twitter here.

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