Wednesday, October 15, 2008

SNP demand the body of Mary Queen of Scots

While Fraser Nelson wonders if the credit crunch has weakened the case for Scottish independence, the SNP are bolstering their cause by demanding the return of the body of Mary Queen of Scots to her native Scotland. Yes, while the world is in financial meltdown and Scots are being made unemployed by the thousand, the SNP shows it truly has its fingers on the pulse of the nation by demanding the return of the body of a queen they loathed and rejected while she was alive.

The move to repatriate the Catholic monarch has the backing of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, sundry historians, and the eminent composer James MacMillan.

Queen Mary, who was born at Linlithgow Palace, fled to England after she was forced to abdicate in 1567. She was held prisoner by her cousin Elizabeth I, found guilty of treason and executed at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire 20 years later. Although she was initially buried at Peterborough Cathedral, her body was exhumed in 1612 when her son, King James I of England and VI of Scotland, ordered that she be re-interred at Westminster Abbey.

But Christine Grahame MSP is demanding that the body be re-reinterred at Falkland Palace in Fife, where the Queen’s father died shortly after she was born and where she spent some of the happiest years of her childhood.

Ms Grahame said: "She was an iconic historical Scots figure and ultimately the victim of English plotting."

English plotting?

Nothing to do with a minor matter of treason, of course.

Mr MacMillan said the return of Mary's body to Scotland would be a ‘profoundly religious and spiritual event’.

No doubt.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church added: "Mary Queen of Scots is undoubtedly held in very great and affectionate esteem by Scots Catholics who admire her religious devotion and fidelity to the church. As such, there would be significant interest among many Catholics in any plan to repatriate her remains."

One may detect a tinge of guilt here. It is a pity they despised her while she was alive, in favour of her one-year-old son.

Alan MacInnes, professor of history at Strathclyde University, said it would be fitting for Mary's final resting place to be at Falkland Palace, adding that she ‘shouldn't be in England under any circumstances’.

Not even the express wish of her son?

A spokesman for Westminster Abbey said: "The body of Mary Queen of Scots was brought to the Abbey in 1612, 25 years after her death, on the express instructions of her son, in order that 'honour be done to the body of his dearest mother. That is a responsibility which the abbey takes very seriously, and the body has remained in our care ever since."

Cranmer has a number of observations. Firstly, perhaps a pedantic point, but one presumes Christine Grahame refers to Mary I, Queen of Scots (1542-1567), and not Mary II, Queen of Scots (1689-1694), who was the dynastic successor to James VII, King of Scots, after the latter had been formally deposed by the Scottish Parliament.

Secondly, Cranmer sides with Westminster Abbey on this. The Catholic monarch's body has lain at Westminster Abbey since 1612 because King James I and VI ordered that she be reinterred in the Henry VII Chapel. This was manifestly his wish, and he was somewhat closer to his mother than Christine Grahame is.

Thirdly, France might have just as strong a claim on Queen Mary’s corps as Scotland. She was a Stuart and was French in all but birth. She was also Queen of France, and her mother is buried in Rheims. There is a very strong argument for re-reinterring her in the Basilica of St Denis in Paris along with the other French Royals or, in the House of Stuart Chapel in St Peter's Basilica in Rome.

Fourthly, are not the SNP republicans?

And finally, failing the efforts of Westminster Abbey to retain the corps, Cranmer has a compromise solution. Since Mary was beheaded, why not let England have the body and Scotland have the head? This would be a most equitable distribution of the remains.


Blogger Unsworth said...

Your Grace

I hope this is the signal for a complete change in policy. It would be nice to think that the SNP will extend this idea into demanding the repatriation of the remains of all those Scots who have died outside their native land - and possibly their descendants, living or dead, too.

I'm not sure that there would be quite enough cemetary space though. Perhaps they'll just go for mass cremation. I've got some spare timber if they need extra fuel. Now where did I put those matches?

15 October 2008 at 09:44  
Blogger Holy Smoke said...

It seems even in death one can not have rest. If the RCC considers her a martyr and they were building a basilica in her honour it might make sense to request bones for the reliquary but not the entire body. Your right the wishes of her son should be the final word on the matter. We are not meant to dwell in the past . Reburying a body will not change history.

And there's a hand my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o thine
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught,
For auld lang sine

May she continue to rest in peace.

15 October 2008 at 13:27  
Anonymous Sebastian Weetabix said...

The vile opportunistic shroud waving of the SNP is matched only by the unpleasant remarks of Unsworth. Do these people really want the Balkanisation of our society? The Union has been the most successful constitutional arrangement in history and vastly better than what went before. The ties of blood, culture & shared history are profound and should not be set aside lightly due to prejudices of a demented minority. The peoples of these Islands are stronger together than apart - the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

15 October 2008 at 13:58  
Blogger Frugal Dougal said...

The SNP wouldn't be using this issue as a smokescreen to hide their financial and ideological embarrassment at the collapse of the banks whose former CEO's they feted?

15 October 2008 at 14:35  
Blogger Stefan said...

I doubt this is uniting Scotland - thought the Catholics and Protestants were still stabbing each other.

15 October 2008 at 15:07  
Blogger Didactophobe said...

Since the events happened after the demise of your Grace in a corporeal sense, you can be forgiven a slight historical inaccuracy.

Mary II was Queen of Scotland, not Queen of Scots: a tiny but crucial distinction. Scottish monarchs were 'of Scots' rather than 'of Scotland', to indicate that they were leaders of the people, rather than divinely-appointed rulers of the kingdom.

There was, therefore, only one Mary who could be described as Queen of Scots. Since she was rejected by the Protestant people of the day, Mary forfeited even that.

Unquestionably, the wishes of her son have to be paramount here. Westminster Abbey is a grand location for her final resting place.

The destruction of the 'Arc of Prosperity' has demolished at a stroke the SNP's arguments for an independent Scotland and calls into question the reason for the SNP's existence. Understandably, they are now seeking solace in a figure who lived before the Union of the Crowns, let alone the industrial revolution.

15 October 2008 at 17:47  
Blogger Tommy 3 Lions said...

First or second class?

15 October 2008 at 18:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christine Grahame has form for trying to stir up trouble. A year or two ago she tried to claim that people living in Northumberland were taking advantage of health care in Scotland.
She didn't bother to check first that this was a long-standing arrangement due to the geography of the place, and that Northumberland Health Care Trust was actually paying the Scots to provide the service.
Ignore her.

15 October 2008 at 19:16  
Blogger Harry Hook said...

"SNP demand the body of Mary Queen of Scots"

... does that mean, we keep the head?

15 October 2008 at 19:23  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Hook,

Do read the entire post.

15 October 2008 at 20:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Certainly,France has at least as much claim. Mary was after all a Queen of France 1558-1560 and honoured by France as such long after the death of the her husband Francis 11

Mr Salmond might also might to take note that Mary Queen of Scots was an early and staunch unionist.Her son James VI of Scotland and I of England was proclaimed as a future king a united kindom when he was only a few minutes old on 19/6/1566

She was also, by virtue of her parentage from Anne Tudor and Henry
V111, of English descent.

15 October 2008 at 20:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"(Mat 10:28) And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

Why all this about a body when the soul has gone to its maker for judgement. Catholics seem to be infatuated with bodies and parts thereof.

"Catechism of the Catholic Church(1994)
Paragraph 958
Communion with the dead. In full consciousness of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Christ, the church in its pilgrim memebers, from the earlist days of the Christian religion has honoured with great respect the memory of the dead. OUR PRAYER FOR THEM IS CAPABLE NOT ONLY OF HELPING THEM BUT ALSO MAKING THEIR INTERCESSION FOR US EFFECTIVE."

How awful to have such a concept when
(1Ti 2:5) For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

15 October 2008 at 21:51  
Anonymous tiberswimmer said...

Your Grace, the thing 'anonymous' (and so many others) need to consider at least is that because God became a man, our entire material world (including our own bodies) has been elevated, blessed, even (in a certain sense) divinised.

To the Catholic mind, it's not just about the spiritual realm. The material realm is valid, beautiful and godly too. As creatures made up of both spirit and matter, we human beings (just like the divine Being Our Lord Jesus Christ) operate in both.

Hence the Catholic love of all things that can be seen, smelt, touched, heard and tasted - sacraments, relics, incense, statues, rosaries, Mozart, Byrd antipasto, chianti, lager.

I have sometimes wondered if somewhere, deep-down, without even knowing it, Protestants are just that bit uncomfortable with the real humanity of Christ. True God and true Man, Son of God and Son of Mary.

15 October 2008 at 23:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They're worse than the Bloc Quebecois.

16 October 2008 at 00:07  
Anonymous Caledonian Jim said...

Home rule should NOT be Rome rule.

In my blog I've tried to highlight this.

16 October 2008 at 00:56  
Anonymous no nonny said...

I don't see why Ms. Grahame imagines that the Brits in England care! Mary was a silly girl, who never caused anything but trouble for Scotland, us, and herself. Furthermore, given the 'life' she imposed on her poor little boy, I think it's a miracle that he turned out well enough to sponsor the KJB!

Overall, the SNP should consider themselves honoured that either Mary or James has a special place in the great Abbey of a city as great as London: let alone that we're dutiful and respectful enough to carry out James' wishes. And I agree with the posters who suggest that we should do all we can to let them RIP.

And if the SNP ever can wrap their heads around the idea that Mary and James were awful, maybe they should let the french take responsibility: for the pair of them and their ways - and all the Stuarts.

16 October 2008 at 02:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mary was executed because she kept going plotting with the French against Elizabeth and England. This Scottish tradition continued with Charles I and still continues to this day.

16 October 2008 at 04:10  
Blogger Johnny Norfolk said...

I think her sons wishes should be honoured.

16 October 2008 at 09:02  
Blogger Harry Hook said...

"Mr Hook,

Do read the entire post."

Apologies... Your Grace... I tend to nod off towards the end of a good sermon... and if the truth be known... at the beginning as well.

16 October 2008 at 13:58  
Blogger Alfie said...

When you're in a fix,
And you need to stall,
Who're you gonna call?

16 October 2008 at 15:41  
Anonymous Stephen Gash said...

Sebastian weetabix said "The Union has been the most successful constitutional arrangement in history and vastly better than what went before."
Has been is correct, but it certainly is not now. It is about as much use to the English now as "Mary rejected by Scots", would have been to England.
I do however agree with Prof. MacInnes's assertion that both parts of the corpse 'shouldn't be in England under any circumstances’.
No matter that her son wanted it in England. He shouldn't have been King of England in the first place.
Send the whore home.

16 October 2008 at 17:18  
Blogger King Athelstan said...

History lesson time for the SNP, anyway I was told She spoke in French virtually all the time

16 October 2008 at 19:18  
Blogger El Draque said...

Why do I get vaguely uneasy when I read about people claiming the royal line is illegitimate? It's a long time ago, but it seems to make the whole of history rest on strange foundations.
I felt the same when I read that Richard III was unfairly blamed for the murder of the Princes in the Tower; suddenly I felt that the Plantagenets and their decendents had a claim to the throne.
I must be a real royalist - more than I would have thought.
Fortunately, I believe the coronation service trumps all claims by affirming the crowned head as monarch against all rival claims, and this is confirmed by the acceptance and acclamation of the Lords and Commons assembled.
Is this true?
I won't sleep easily till I know all is in order.

16 October 2008 at 20:24  
Blogger Damo Mackerel said...

'One may detect a tinge of guilt here. It is a pity they despised her while she was alive, in favour of her one-year-old son. '

I thought it was the Protestants that got rid of Mary and not the Catholics?

17 October 2008 at 12:56  
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23 November 2008 at 09:47  

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