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Mary "Queen" of Scots, cursed by her father, James V, as he lay dying of consumption and regally vexed that the birth was of a baby daughter rather than a boy prince; a frustrated, never quite successful queen, whose life spanned 45 years of plots, intrigues, murders, imprisonments, and a great deal of general chaos, Mary Queen of Scots lived a pathetic and ineffectual life. She knew heroics but not heroism, except that she died heroically. As Froude says, her "self possession was faultless, the courage splendid. Never did any human creature meet death more bravely." It was perhaps not altogether inappropriate that either intentionally or from stupidity the musicians stationed in the courtyard to amuse the vast animal crowd attending the beheading as she came into view were playing "Jumping Joan," a mournful dirge which after the curious manner of the time customarily was reserved for the ceremony of
Bean WB. Mary Queen of Scots, The Daughter of Debate. Arch Intern Med. 1963;112(6):996–997. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03860060208037
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