Author Topic: Historical, military grade SS-ness  (Read 4345 times)

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Musicwoman

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Historical, military grade SS-ness
« on: December 02, 2011, 07:42:19 PM »
I have just been reading about Mary Queen of Scots and her second husband, Lord Darnley...now that was a man who defined entitled, SS behaviour!

Darnley had such a strong claim to the English throne that he was a serious contender to be named Queen Elizabeth I's heir.  His parents spoiled him rotten and constantly told him how important he was and how one day he'd be king.  The results were predictable.  He ended up a whiny, bullying snowflake with a level of entitlement which is just...well, read what happened.

When he was 18 he managed to make Mary Queen of Scots fall in love with him so hard she married him against the advice of her Council, and immediately invested him as King of Scotland.  Dynastically it was a good match (Mary also had a good claim to the English throne, and their son ended up succeeding Elizabeth) but personally it was a disaster; Mary's infatuation wore off within 3 months. 

Darnley was insulting and insolent to anyone he saw as his inferior (everyone, including his Queen Regnant wife!!!!) and had alienated most of the important Scottish Lords even before the marriage.  After it, he demanded all the priviledges of kingship but did none of the work, blowing off Council meetings to go hunting and get drunk with his buddies.  He even refused to sign papers that had been prepared for him - Mary had to get a stamp made of his signature to enable the government to function effectively.

Darnley wanted to be invested with the Crown Matrimonial, which would have made him King in his own right if Mary died childless.  Wisely, she refused.  He took offense, sulked and raged about it; he would spend the rest of his life plotting to get what he saw as his "right" to unfettered power, while doing everything he could to prove he was unfit to hold it.

A group of noblemen got up a plot to force Mary to give them more power.  They talked Darnley into supporting them by promising him the Crown Matrimonial.  The plot was put down and the lords outlawed.  Strike one case of treason against Darnley.  Mary persuaded herself that her 18-year old husband had been "led astray by evil counsellors", but he had lost everyone's trust and was excluded from all government affairs.  Mary also began turning to other men for political advice.  Predictably, he took offence.

By now Mary was pregnant.  She was heavily reliant on the advice of her secretary, David Rizzio, which offended some other lords.  They decided to stage a coup, murder Rizzio, imprison Mary and set Darnley up as a puppet king.  To grease the path they spread a rumor that Rizzio was Mary's lover and the father of her child.  Darnley did not originate the plot but joined it enthusiastically, adding the refinement that Rizzio be murdered in Mary's presence.  This was done.  Darnley did not strike any of the fatal blows himself but restrained Mary from helping Rizzio as he clung screaming to her skirts.  Mary came to believe that Darnley had intended the shock to cause her to miscarry, even kill her.  She was treated with extreme disrespect and violence by the conspirators.  One flourished a dagger so close to her she felt the coldness of it: one threatened to "cut her into collops and throw her over the (castle) wall" if she called for help: another put a pistol against her belly and pulled the trigger, but the weapon misfired.

Strike two case of treason against Darnley.

Immediately after the murder Darnley realised the conspirators had no intention of letting him have any real power.  So he went crawling back to Mary, insisting he had only acted out of jealousy of Rizzio and had no idea the plotters meant to stage a coup.  Mary was unimpressed but needed him to acknowledge the baby's paternity when it was born.  With the help of loyal lords Mary and Darnley escaped, and the coup was put down.   

Unfortunately for Darnley, the conspirators had taken out insurance against him abandoning them.  They had insisted he sign a document stating he was aware of the intention to depose Mary, and taking full responsibility for Rizzio's murder.  He had cheerfully done so.  They sent it to Mary.  Darnley now stood exposed as the man who had betrayed his wife, his Queen and his fellow-conspirators.  He was effectively Sent To Coventry.  Mary had no choice but to keep him around for political reasons, but no-one else would even be seen in his company.

He took offence.

As no-one in Scotland would have anything to do with him, he began trying to plot with the Spanish King to depose, not only Mary, but Elizabeth and set himself up as joint king of Scotland and England.  By now he was widely recognised as an idiot who could be used by anyone who wanted to cause trouble.

It is really no surprise he got himself murdered.  His death remains a hotly contested mystery to this day, mostly because there was hardly an important person in Scotland or England who didn't want him dead.

His father spent the rest of his life insisting his son was a good and virtuous boy who was maybe a little gullible, but had done nothing - nothing! - to deserve anyone's bad opinion.     

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StoutGirl

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Re: Historical, military grade SS-ness
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2011, 10:22:59 PM »
Thank you for sharing!  It brought back memories of Scotland for me and Scottish history lessons that I learned.  Yes, Darnley was certainly one of Scotland's bad boys of that era.  Just as an FYI, one of the possible suspects in Darnley's murder was the Fourth Earl of Bothwell (birth name escapes me), who became Mary's 3rd husband.

StoutGirl

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Re: Historical, military grade SS-ness
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2011, 10:29:20 PM »
It was James Hepburn.

Twik

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Re: Historical, military grade SS-ness
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2011, 01:14:30 AM »
My father always liked the line by one biographer: "Mary likely had no foreknowledge of Darnley's murder. But if a woman insists on marrying her husband's killer, people will talk."
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DoubleTrouble

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Re: Historical, military grade SS-ness
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2011, 12:20:11 PM »
Were you reading the book Mary, Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley by Alison Weir by any chance? ;)

lollylegs

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Re: Historical, military grade SS-ness
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2011, 10:23:33 PM »
Historical celebrity bad behaviour, love it!

It is really no surprise he got himself murdered.  His death remains a hotly contested mystery to this day, mostly because there was hardly an important person in Scotland or England who didn't want him dead.
;D

blue2000

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Re: Historical, military grade SS-ness
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2011, 09:14:24 AM »
My father always liked the line by one biographer: "Mary likely had no foreknowledge of Darnley's murder. But if a woman insists on marrying her husband's killer, people will talk."

And probably some of them were saying "Well she finally married a smart one!"
You are only young once. After that you have to think up some other excuse.

mechtilde

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Re: Historical, military grade SS-ness
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2011, 09:21:30 AM »
My father always liked the line by one biographer: "Mary likely had no foreknowledge of Darnley's murder. But if a woman insists on marrying her husband's killer, people will talk."

Yup- it took a great deal of lack of political savvy for Mary to marry someone even worse than Darnley, although she may not have had much choice in the matter.
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BarensMom

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Re: Historical, military grade SS-ness
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2011, 11:45:04 AM »
I never did understand Queen Mary.  How could someone grow up in the French court and not understand crown politics?

artk2002

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Re: Historical, military grade SS-ness
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2011, 12:27:07 PM »
My father always liked the line by one biographer: "Mary likely had no foreknowledge of Darnley's murder. But if a woman insists on marrying her husband's killer, people will talk."

Yup- it took a great deal of lack of political savvy for Mary to marry someone even worse than Darnley, although she may not have had much choice in the matter.

The bolded pretty much describes the Stuarts from Mary onwards.
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DoubleTrouble

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Re: Historical, military grade SS-ness
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2011, 01:04:23 PM »
My father always liked the line by one biographer: "Mary likely had no foreknowledge of Darnley's murder. But if a woman insists on marrying her husband's killer, people will talk."

Yup- it took a great deal of lack of political savvy for Mary to marry someone even worse than Darnley, although she may not have had much choice in the matter.

Evidence has shown that she didn't have much choice. In the book I have mentioned above, Mary was kidnapped & then r@ped by Bothwell. While these days we are amazed that someone would consent marry their r@pist, in those days the honor code stated that the only way for a woman's reputation to recover was to marry her r@pist which somehow made the stigma of r@pe go away. Strange to us but that's how things worked then & what Bothwell intended to happen. Of course there is controversy over if Mary agreed to the kidnapping beforehand but from the sources that Ms. Weir has examined it seems unlikely.

I highly recommend Alison Weir's book to anyone who's interested in this story, she does an amazing job of examining the evidence & is quite the story teller. I can also say that her other non-fiction books are wonderful as she usually researches female figures who are often ignored. Can't say anything about her fiction books as I prefer history which is often much more sordid than anything anyone can make up!

Seraphia

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Re: Historical, military grade SS-ness
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2011, 02:51:53 PM »
My father always liked the line by one biographer: "Mary likely had no foreknowledge of Darnley's murder. But if a woman insists on marrying her husband's killer, people will talk."

Yup- it took a great deal of lack of political savvy for Mary to marry someone even worse than Darnley, although she may not have had much choice in the matter.

Evidence has shown that she didn't have much choice. In the book I have mentioned above, Mary was kidnapped & then r@ped by Bothwell. While these days we are amazed that someone would consent marry their r@pist, in those days the honor code stated that the only way for a woman's reputation to recover was to marry her r@pist which somehow made the stigma of r@pe go away. Strange to us but that's how things worked then & what Bothwell intended to happen. Of course there is controversy over if Mary agreed to the kidnapping beforehand but from the sources that Ms. Weir has examined it seems unlikely.

I highly recommend Alison Weir's book to anyone who's interested in this story, she does an amazing job of examining the evidence & is quite the story teller. I can also say that her other non-fiction books are wonderful as she usually researches female figures who are often ignored. Can't say anything about her fiction books as I prefer history which is often much more sordid than anything anyone can make up!

I love Alison Weir's books. She's such a thorough historian, and her analysis always seems very grounded in the information. I've read more than a couple books about the Tudor era where the author obviously had a fondness or hatred for a particular person, skewing the conclusions considerably.
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Nibsey

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Re: Historical, military grade SS-ness
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2011, 04:41:39 PM »
My father always liked the line by one biographer: "Mary likely had no foreknowledge of Darnley's murder. But if a woman insists on marrying her husband's killer, people will talk."

Yup- it took a great deal of lack of political savvy for Mary to marry someone even worse than Darnley, although she may not have had much choice in the matter.

The bolded pretty much describes the Stuarts from Mary onwards.

Well hardly, Charles II was probaby one of the most powerful of the constitutional monarchs and James I didn't become King of England purely by accident  ;). But I will concede that the Stuarts on the whole weren't the brightest bunch.
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hjaye

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Re: Historical, military grade SS-ness
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2011, 05:53:57 PM »
My father always liked the line by one biographer: "Mary likely had no foreknowledge of Darnley's murder. But if a woman insists on marrying her husband's killer, people will talk."

Yup- it took a great deal of lack of political savvy for Mary to marry someone even worse than Darnley, although she may not have had much choice in the matter.

The bolded pretty much describes the Stuarts from Mary onwards.

Well hardly, Charles II was probaby one of the most powerful of the constitutional monarchs and James I didn't become King of England purely by accident  ;). But I will concede that the Stuarts on the whole weren't the brightest bunch.

Charles the second really was the brightest of the bunch.  James the I biggest mistake was that he thought by taking the royal throne of England he was going to be able to retire after enduring all the political intrigue of being James VI of Scotland.  The reign of Charles I led to the English Civil war and the dissolution of the English Crown (and the loss of his own head) under the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell.  James II was probably the most politically naive of the Stuarts, he was overtly Catholic and his short reign led to the Glorious Revolution and the reign of William of Orange and Mary.

shadowfox79

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Re: Historical, military grade SS-ness
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2011, 07:14:39 AM »
I love Alison Weir's books. She's such a thorough historian, and her analysis always seems very grounded in the information. I've read more than a couple books about the Tudor era where the author obviously had a fondness or hatred for a particular person, skewing the conclusions considerably.

I love some of her books. Unfortunately I read her take on the Princes in the Tower and lost a lot of faith. There was rather a lot of interesting assumption in that one.