From Mr Peter Hancock SIR – Mary, Queen of Scots, from whom all British monarchs since have claimed their legitimacy, is viewed by many Catholics, including me, as a Catholic martyr. The documents from an inquiry into a possible Cause for her beatification have been in the Vatican Secret Archives for over 100 years. Is it not time that steps are now taken to take this possible Cause a stage further?
There is a snag, of course, and that is money. Beatification and eventual canonisation can be very costly, as we can see in the current case of John Henry, Cardinal Newman. But is it not likely that, during the course of the Pope’s official visit to Holyroodhouse, the subject of Mary, Queen of Scots was almost bound to arise ?
A further point is that Mary (actually Marie) Stuart is buried in the Henry VII Chapel in Westminster Abbey, with a magnificent memorial built by order of Mary’s son, James I and VI, in 1612, 25 years after Mary’s execution at Fotheringhay, in 1587. The memorial cost £8,500, compared to the £5,000 which he also spent on the combined memorial to Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I, on the north side of the Henry VII Chapel.
There can be little doubt that Mary, Queen of Scots would have been delighted to know that the Pope himself would be visiting both the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where she once lived; and Westminster Abbey, where she is buried, a few yards from her great-grandfather, Henry VII, from whom she made her legitimate claim to the throne of England, achieved in the end, posthumously, by her son James I and VI.
This may be seen as a fulfilment of Mary’s motto: “In my end is my beginning.” Yours faithfully, PETER HANCOCK By email