Women Who Took their Vengeance in an Epic Fashion - Women Revenge
Women Who Took their Vengeance in an Epic Fashion

Women Who Took their Vengeance in an Epic Fashion

Khalid Elhassan - February 28, 2021

Women Who Took their Vengeance in an Epic Fashion
Francois Clouet’s ‘Mary Queen of Scots’. Google Art Project

2. Getting Rid of an Abusive Royal Husband

The murder of David Rizzio in front of Mary took place against a backdrop of struggle. This struggle raged between Scottish Catholics and Protestants. Catholics looked to the staunchly Catholic Mary, so Darnley turned to the Protestants to help him with his plot. However, the fickle Darnley soon fell out with his Protestant co-conspirators. Just two days after murdering Rizzio, he switched back to his wife’s Catholic faction. On the night of March 11 – 12, 1566, he helped Mary escape from her palace, now teeming with Protestants. However, Darnley’s change of heart was too late to save the marriage, which was irrevocably ruined by Rizzio’s murder.

Mary, who neither forgot nor forgave, would have her vengeance. After giving birth in June, 1566, she bided her time. In November, she met with loyal nobles to figure out what to do about the “problem of Darnley”. They decided that the queen’s husband had to go. As described by contemporaries: “It was thought expedient and most profitable for the commonwealth … that such a young fool and proud tyrant should not reign or bear rule over them; … that he should be put off by one way or another; and whosoever should take the deed in hand or do it, they should defend”.

Women Who Took their Vengeance in an Epic Fashion
The explosive end of Lord Darnley. General History

1. Mary Queen of Scots’ Allegedly Exacted Revenge on her Abusive Husband… by Blowing Him Up, Then Strangling Him to Death

A leading ally in the ensuing plot to get rid of Lord Darnley revealed himself. James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, organized a plot to assassinate the queen’s husband. On February 19, 1567, Darnley’s bedroom exploded with him inside it. He survived the blast and managed to stagger out of the wreckage. He was then seized and strangled to death. Three months later, Mary married Bothwell. The marriage turned out to be extremely unpopular. It united both Catholics and Protestants in denouncing the queen for marrying the man who had murdered her husband.

Women Who Took their Vengeance in an Epic Fashion
James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell. Pintrest

Mary and Bothwell raised an army against their opponents. But before they fought the battle, the royal couple’s forces evaporated; their men deserted them. They permitted Bothwell to leave, provided he left Mary behind. He jumped at the chance, and abandoned his wife to the tender mercies of her enemies. They took Mary captive to Edinburgh, where she was denounced as an adulteress and murderess, then imprisoned. On July 24, 1567, Mary abdicated (by force) in favor of her one-year-old son, James. She fled to England, where more political intrigues sucked her in. Those ventures ended with her beheading two decades later.

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Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

Amazing Women in History – Sayyida al Hurra, Islamic Pirate Queen

Ancient Origins – The Spirit of Beatrice Cenci: A Tale of Terrible Injustice in Ancient Rome

Ancient Origins – Tomyris, the Female Warrior and Ruler Who May Have Killed Cyrus the Great

Atlas Obscura – The Femme Fatale Whose Tragic End Festers in the History of Rome

British Heritage Travel – Did Mary Queen of Scots Kill Her Husband Lord Darnley?

Cottrell, Leonard – The Great Invasion (1958)

Cassius Dio – Roman History, Book LXII

Devi, Phoolan – I, Phoolan Devi: The Autobiography of India’s Bandit Queen (1996)

History Ireland, March/ April 2005, Volume 13 – Grainne Mhaol, Pirate Queen of Connacht: Behind the Legend

History Today – The Murder of Darnley

Milestone Rome – The Tragic Story of Beatrice Cenci

National Geographic History Magazine, March 15th, 2019 – This Renaissance Warrior Woman Defied Power Popes to Defend Her Land

Tacitus – The Annals, Book XIV

Wikipedia – Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley

Wikipedia – Phoolan Devi

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