For today’s post, I have decided to take a look at my five favorite stories of Doomed Queens. In this countdown, I will rank the Queens based on how much interest I find in their tales. This is not to say that any one of them is better than the others, or worse, just that I connect with them most in this order. Without further ado, here’s the list!
Number 5: Lady Jane Grey
~To start off this list I have to mention Jane Grey, The Nine Days Queen. She was the young cousin of Edward VI and she became Queen of England due to his writing his own line of succession in hopes of preventing his Catholic sister Mary Tudor from inheriting the throne when it became obvious that he would not survive his illness. However, it was easy for Mary to amass an army and take her rightful crown from Jane Grey, and eventually, she gave the young girl a choice. Either convert to Catholicism and become a lady in waiting at her court or die. The young girl chose death rather than betraying her Protestant beliefs!
Number 4: Katheryn Howard
~Katheryn Howard was the fifth wife of Henry VIII and she ended up being discovered for her infidelity. It was revealed that this young girl was not a virgin when she married the King and this further humiliated the fragile ego of the monarch. For both her pre-marital escapades and her affair with Thomas Culpepper that took place within the marriage, she was executed for adultery and treason.
Number 3: Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots
~Mary Stuart became Queen of Scotland at just six days old. She was the only legitimate heir of James V and was spirited away to live in her mother, Marie de Guise’s, homeland of France. From the time she was a toddler, she was raised in the French court, as the future wife of the future King, the Dauphin Francois. They married when she was fifteen and by eighteen she had been a Queen of both France and Scotland and was widowed. During two subsequent marriages, she would bare one living son, who would go on to be James VI of Scotland and James I of England. Her second marriage would end in the murder of her husband and when she escaped to England (following her impulsive third marriage) in hopes of gaining Elizabeth I’s support, she was imprisoned for 18 years. Eventually, Elizabeth ordered her death in order to protect her right to rule England, as Mary had a strong claim to the throne!
Number 2: Marie Antoinette
~The last Queen of France was an iconic figure who reveled in the opulent lifestyle that her station afforded her. She was famously indulged by her husband in a way that most Kings only would do for their mistresses, making her look gauche. Her over-the-top lifestyle was oft-maligned in the court of France. It should be remembered that she came to the court as a foreign Princess hoping to fit in, as she had been trained for her role as a Queen since her childhood. As she was never accepted in the court, she began to live her life by her own rules. When things began to crumble, she and Louis tried to escape to her homeland of Austria but were caught en route. It was after this that she was imprisoned in the Bastille and eventually executed by Madame Guillotine on trumped up and horrific charges!
Number 1: Anne Boleyn
~Of course, my favorite Queen of all time would rank number one on my list of Doomed Queens! She was the second wife of Henry VIII, as she eventually replaced his first wife Katherine of Aragon, after seven years of both of them fighting for their ability to marry. By the time she was coronated she was already pregnant with their first child, whom both hoped was a son, but turned out to be Elizabeth I. Over the next thousand days as Queen, she would have two to three other pregnancies, all ending in miscarriage. Upon her final miscarriage in January of 1536, it was stated that she had “miscarried of her savior” as the fetus was identified as having been male. This was seen as her inability to bare the King a healthy son. In the Spring of 1536, Thomas Cromwell began to investigate claims that she had been adulterous during the marriage. Some will say that her death was orchestrated at the hands of Henry himself, however, I believe that Cromwell had the true leading role here. After all, why would Henry VIII show himself as a cuckold to his kingdom had he not believed it to be true? At the end of the day, what we know for certain is that she was executed by the swordsman of Calais on May 19, 1536!
~I hope you have enjoyed this countdown. Did I include your favorite Doomed Queen? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
- The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn by Eric Ives
- Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery by Eric Ives
- Young and Damned and Fair by Gareth Russel
- Marie Antionette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser
- Mary Queen of Scots by Antonia Fraser