The Other Queen : A review by Nazeha Maryam Jamal

By Nazeha Maryam Jamal

 “And I? I am two things at once: the second highest being in the world, a queen; and the very lowest: a woman without home, husband, or fortune. I am a queen three times over because I was born Queen of Scotland, daughter to King James V of Scotland, I was married to the Dauphin of France and inherited the French crown with him, and I am, in my own right, the only true and legitimate heir to the throne of England, being the great-grand niece to King Henry VII of England, though his bastard daughter, Elizebeth has usurped my throne.” 

In 1567, Mary was forced to abdicate in favor of her son James who was just one year old at the time. After failing to recover her throne she flees to England hoping that Elizebeth would help her in regaining her crown.  But Elizebeth fearing that she will overthrow her as she had a more legitimate claim to the English throne imprisons her. The story is narrated by three people: Mary, George Talbot and his wife Bess who were Mary’s guardians in England. 

 The relationship between these two queens is fascinating to me. Mary spent her whole life running from one place to another and that did not give her any experience in ruling a country therefor she was not a good politician. She made a ton of errors in attempt to regain her throne and to me seems incredibly na├»ve. Whereas Elizebeth was smart and cunning although she seemed to have inherited the paranoia of her father. Elizebeth imprisoned Mary for 19 years and they were such legendary rivals but what’s funny is that they never once met in person. History has a funny way of coming full circle. Elizebeth’s father, King Henry the VII married six women for a male heir but her daughter went on to become one of the greatest female monarchs. Mary’ sons James I united and ruled all Scotland, England and Ireland.

Nazeha Maryam Jamal is a 3rd Medical Student.


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