Project Britain A History of Scotland


Project Britain

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LineFromTo

-How you doing?

-No' bad.

-Good day for it, eh?

-Aye, lovely.

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-We can go aboard, yeah?

-Aye, no problem.

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This is Loch Leven in Perthshire.

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In 1567, it was at the centre of some of the most turbulent events Scotland had ever known.

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On a little island in the middle of the loch, kept as a prisoner, was a young woman.

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24-year-old Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots.

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On their way to the island was a small group of powerful nobles

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intent on stripping the Queen of her crown.

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When the nobles arrived here, they were brandishing documents they wanted Mary to sign

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and they were prepared to use force and threats to her life to get their way.

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They saw themselves as the saviours of Scotland and she was the obstacle in their path.

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But Mary refused to cooperate, because she knew

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that with one scratch of the pen, she would cease to be Queen.

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Mary and the nobles held radically different visions of the nation's future.

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And Scotland stood divided.

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From that moment, on this loch, an incredible transformation

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will take place - that will not only see Scotland united,

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but a Scottish king ruling the entire British Isles.

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The ambition of an unconquered nation and its royal family will be the driving force

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that unites two ancient enemies and sets them on the road towards the Great Britain we know today.

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A Scottish takeover of England?

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Who would dare dream of such a thing?

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In 1542, Scotland's fate came to rest on the shoulders

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of a six-day-old girl, when its king, James 5th, died.

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His daughter, Mary Stuart, was the last of the great Scottish royal line -

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a child of glittering dynastic potential.

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And almost immediately, the coveted prize of an English king.

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Infant Mary was the solution to a very English problem.

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Henry VIII had fallen out with other countries in Europe, over religion.

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He'd broken with the Catholic Church and now England was vulnerable to invasion.

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Henry's worst fear was that a hostile army would be allowed to land in Scotland.

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And from there, launch itself into northern England.

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England's king, Henry VIII, was an arch strategist,

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and he came up with a remarkable course of action.

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He would kill off the threat from the north by marrying the Queen of Scots to his own son.

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And by doing that, Scotland would become part of England.

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A group of Scottish nobles were seduced by Henry's scheme...

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..and even signed a marriage treaty on Mary's behalf.

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But Mary's guardians backed out,

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which brought Scotland and England once again to the brink of war.

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Young Mary was forced to run from one castle to another

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as Henry sent soldiers to hunt her down and bring her to him.

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When they couldn't find her, the English generals decided on a new tactic.

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Diplomacy on one hand...

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devastation on the other.

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A huge English army invaded southern Scotland.

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The English tried to persuade the Scots that a royal marriage

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to their oldest enemy was in everyone's interests.

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But while the politicians threw away words like "fellowship" and "brotherhood" and "equals",

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the English soldiers were murdering and raping and burning their way across southern Scotland.

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Abbeys like Melrose,

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then major commercial and cultural centres, were devastated

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as southern Scotland was brought to its knees.

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But the Scots still wouldn't give up their Queen.

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Instead, they looked to Europe for military help

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and called on France - their oldest and most trusted ally.

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Now the French king, Henri, entered the fight.

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He would send troops to help the Scots fight off the English.

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But on condition the infant Mary would be betrothed to HIS son, Francois.

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So a new marriage treaty was drawn up for five-year-old Mary,

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promising that she would now one day be Queen of France.

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The French King duly sent an army to fight off the English

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and a boat to spirit his little Scottish Queen to safety.

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And the English scheme to take over Scotland by marriage was dead.

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The magnificent chateaux of the Loire Valley became Mary's refuge

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as she entered the protection of the French royal family.

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And charmed the man who had gone to war for her hand.

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"She is the most perfect child that I have ever seen," he wrote.

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Mary was welcomed in here like a long-lost daughter.

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In fact the king, Henri, treated her like one of his own children.

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She lived in the royal nursery alongside the dauphin,

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her future husband, and she received a fantastic Renaissance education -

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literature, rhetoric, as well as music, dancing and sport.

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She was a precious jewel

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and in this setting she shone brightest of all.

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Her future husband, Francois, was short and clumsy.

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But Mary was tall, elegant and charming.

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All through her childhood, at court appearances and in private, she impressed her French guardians.

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And she was groomed for a glittering future,

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not only in France and Scotland, but potentially beyond.

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Mary's veins contained very royal blood -

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blood that gave her a claim to an even bigger prize -

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the Crown of England.

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She was only fourth in line, but Mary's French guardians knew

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where that claim could take them, if fortune smiled their way.

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And that one day, Mary Stuart might just be their key

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to the back door of England.

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Her claim to be a contender for the English throne had always been a long shot.

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But events back across the Channel took a couple of unexpected twists.

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In quick succession, an English king and an English queen,

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both from the House of Tudor, died without leaving heirs.

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Suddenly, in 1558, Mary, in French eyes at least,

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became the perfect heir for the English throne.

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There was just one problem...

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..Elizabeth Tudor.

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Henry VIII's illegitimate daughter also now claimed to be Queen of England.

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She had been born just eight months after her parents' wedding.

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And in the eyes of many, she was not only illegitimate as a daughter,

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but would be illegitimate as a queen.

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So, Mary's French family stoked her ambition,

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as she became the vehicle for theirs.

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They encouraged her to dream - that now the Crown of England really could be hers, too.

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If she got it, one single, united empire would stretch from Scotland in the north

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to France in the south.

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This would be a Catholic empire,

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vast and powerful, that would dominate the west of Europe.

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Wasn't that what God had in mind for Mary?

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But her rival Elizabeth was English, Protestant and a Tudor.

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So she got the Crown...

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..and Mary's dream of a vast Catholic empire slipped away.

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And soon, even the certainty of her own French crown was under threat.

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The Protestant reformation was coming.

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This religious revolution was spreading across Europe,

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promising to sweep away Catholic monarchs like Francois and Mary.

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Just a few months into their reign, a group of rebels

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stormed the chateau at Amboise and tried to capture the King.

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So who were the rebels?

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They were Protestants, but they were lords.

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We know their name now.

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And they wanted to plot

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against the royal family and the king, Francois II,

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who was young and weak.

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The revolt failed, and a very public and very bloody example was made of the rebels.

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How much of this would Mary Queen of Scots have seen with her own eyes?

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We know she saw the bodies at the balconies of the chateau, because she was in the chateau.

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It was the first time she was confronted with such a thing.

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-Such violence!

-Yes. First time she saw this.

-The bodies were hung from here to show the people?

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-Yes, to make an example.

-This is what you get.

-Yes.

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Just a few months later,

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Mary's time as Queen of France came to an abrupt end.

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Her young husband, Francois, died of an ear infection,

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leaving Mary a widow

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and a powerless dowager Queen.

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The glittering future that Mary had been brought up to believe in disappeared before her eyes.

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France, the Catholic Empire, life at the centre of the Valois court -

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it was all suddenly over.

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So Mary looked to home.

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But home had changed.

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The reformation that was pitting Protestant against Catholic from France to Holland and beyond,

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had spread to Scotland - with dramatic results -

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and very little bloodshed...so far.

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Swiftly and comprehensively, the Scottish Church had gone over to the new creed.

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Life in Scotland was suddenly very different indeed.

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Edinburgh's tiny Magdalen Chapel was where the leaders of that reformation met

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to plan their brave new world.

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And they now wanted to change more than just the Church.

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What was undertaken in this room was the sweeping, all-encompassing reform of Scottish society.

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They started with religion, but they wanted to reach out and touch every part of peoples' lives.

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And of course, it couldn't help but be a direct attack on the power of the monarch.

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Mary's most loyal supporters -

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Roman Catholics who had dominated the country in her absence -

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were driven from power,

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as Protestant nobles took control of the country.

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The movement's spiritual leader was a preacher called John Knox.

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He called for those who practised the Catholic Mass to be put to death.

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He even went as far as to claim that Catholic monarchs could be justly deposed.

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Catholic monarchs...like Mary.

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When the Scottish nobles heard Mary was coming back, different factions sought her out.

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One Catholic Earl wanted Mary to return as a Catholic figurehead in a war to drive out the Protestants.

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Another offer came from her Protestant half brother.

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He wanted Mary to come back and work with the new Protestant regime.

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If she accepted his offer, he promised she could remain a Catholic,

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as long as she kept her religion a secret and only practised her faith in private.

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One August day in 1561, Mary Stuart sailed into Scottish waters.

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She had chosen to work WITH the Protestant regime.

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Her ships were almost a week ahead of schedule,

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so there was no welcoming party.

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But a few rounds of the ship's canon promptly assembled a small, curious crowd

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as Scotland's Queen finally came home.

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During Mary's first private Mass on her first Sunday back,

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a mob gathered outside Holyrood to protest.

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They jeered and shouted that they were going to kill the priest, but they couldn't get to Mary.

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Eventually, they went away, but the secret of the Queen's private faith was out

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and the truth hung in the air like a bad smell.

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John Knox wouldn't even tolerate Mary's private faith.

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"That one Mass," he said, "was more fearful

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"than if 10,000 armed men were landed in any part of the realm,

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"to suppress the whole Protestant religion."

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From the pulpit of St Giles, he openly preached against her.

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Knox was brought before the Queen,

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and straight to Mary's face, he questioned her right to rule Scotland.

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Why? First of all she was Catholic and Scotland wasn't. Not any more.

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Second, she was a woman.

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But Mary had lived long enough to have seen the realities of religious reformation.

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She was no innocent, so she faced him down.

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Scotland could remain Protestant.

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In private, however, she would remain Catholic.

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No matter how violently Mary and Knox disagreed, there would be no bloodbaths here.

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Mary had survived her first crisis

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and now she had the business of ruling to attend to.

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Mary began to tour the whole country,

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winning over the powerful regional nobles

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with her beauty and her cultivated charm.

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Rekindling old loyalties that ran deeper than the new religious ties.

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Sending a clear signal that she was back...

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and in charge.

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This is a moment from Scottish history that stays with you.

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Mary was back, and she was making a success of it.

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But she'd been Queen all of her life.

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She'd been surrounded by the magnificence of the French court,

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and she'd had her ambitions to be Queen of England inflated and fanned.

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After all that, could she really reconcile herself

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to a life lived here, out on the edge of the world?

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The bigger stage, England, was always on her mind.

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The trouble was, the English already had their leading lady.

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But by 1564, Elizabeth had neither married nor produced an heir.

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So Mary seized the initiative.

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Mary began surveying the field for suitable contenders for marriage.

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But Mary wasn't just looking for a husband,

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she was looking for a stud - to maintain or even improve the bloodline.

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Someone who could finally help her fulfil her dynastic potential.

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First, she investigated Catholic suitors.

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Spaniards and French.

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The French one was her dead husband's adolescent brother.

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And the Spanish one promptly lost his mind.

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Elizabeth offered her own favourite.

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But eventually Mary settled on something much closer to home -

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an English cousin.

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Like her, he's a good dancer.

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A good huntsman.

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Tall, good looking and young.

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His name was Henry, Lord Darnley.

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And he was the boy who would be King.

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After a whirlwind romance, Mary and Darnley married.

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And Scotland was poised to have a cocky 19-year-old,

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not just as its Queen's husband, but as its out-and-out King.

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All with Mary's blessing.

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But then something strange happened.

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A clue lies here, in the National Museum of Scotland.

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So what have we here, Nick?

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We have a coin which was struck to commemorate the marriage of

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Mary Queen of Scots and Henry Lord Darnley in July 1565.

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-And that's the happy couple?

-Face to face, staring into each other's eyes.

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And the inscription has Henry's name before Mary's.

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So it's Henry and King before Mary and Queen.

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Yes. So I think it was

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probably considered soon after this had gone into circulation,

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that it was conveying an unfortunate message.

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They were withdrawn from circulation rapidly and replaced with a different type.

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-What replaced it?

-It was replaced by a different coin.

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The same size, but with a different design on it.

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-Surely that's mysterious - that two coins should replace one another so quickly?

-Well,

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Mary of course was of higher status than Henry Darnley.

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And the coin would seem to convey that he was at least equal, if not in fact superior status.

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So the new issue was brought out which had Mary's name first,

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making sure that the correct hierarchy was maintained.

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So he's been put in his place by the time the second coin comes out?

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So quite clearly, these two coins

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tell us what we need to know about that relationship.

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Well, yes.

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The fact this happened in Scotland so rapidly is an indication of something unusual going on, yes.

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Darnley roamed about Edinburgh drunk and debauched,

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mouthing off about not being King and making enemies in the process.

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If Mary had once encouraged him to dream of being King, she now backtracked.

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And well she could, because Darnley had done his job by then -

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he'd made his wife pregnant.

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Guns fired across Scotland to salute the future King

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when Mary gave birth to a son, James, on June 19th, 1566.

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A few months later, a lavish party was thrown

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in the great hall of Stirling Castle to celebrate James's baptism.

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And it was a major political event.

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Mary had ordered a huge round table be set up here -

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to remind the guests of King Arthur, the mythical King of Britain.

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And James was hailed as Little Arthur, the future King of a reunited Britain.

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The visiting English ambassador was suitably offended

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at the Scottish royal family's claim to be the future rulers of the whole British Isles.

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It was a very provocative gesture.

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But it was realistic. Time was running out for Elizabeth.

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She was already in her mid 30s, and it was becoming less and less likely

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that she would ever produce her own heir.

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And if she didn't, or couldn't, where would that leave England?

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Answer - in Scotland's hands.

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Whether Elizabeth liked it or not, baby James would be the next in line.

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So the English Queen now seemed poised to do something remarkable -

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bury the hatchet with Mary and name her son James as the successor to the English throne.

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Until, that is, Mary's poor choice in men came back to haunt her.

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The house where Darnley, Mary's husband, was staying

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was blown up with gunpowder packed into its basement.

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But it wasn't the blast that killed him.

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His body was found some distance away from the scene of the explosion.

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In all likelihood, he was strangled as he tried to flee for his life.

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The Scottish nobles had finally run out of patience with Darnley.

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But some said the blood on their hands was ordained by the Queen herself.

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And Mary's behaviour seemed to prove those suspicions.

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She didn't rush into mourning clothes.

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Nor did she give her husband a state funeral.

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Instead, Darnley's body was dumped at night somewhere in Holyrood Abbey.

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You get a sense of Darnley's tragedy here.

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The story goes that he's buried alongside these other dead, but they have gravestones and he doesn't.

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No-one knows for sure where he was buried and no-one really cares.

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Yet he was practically a King of Scotland.

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His sordid death changed everything for Mary.

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Elizabeth put a stop to any more talk of her succession.

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Until, that is, Mary could be cleared of any involvement in Darnley's murder.

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But that wasn't about to happen.

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Instead, she married the man most people suspected of carrying out the murder.

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His name was James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell.

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There were of course rumours that he kidnapped her, that he raped her,

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that she married him to keep her honour.

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But none of that could alter the fact that from the outside,

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from the point of view of the ministers, the nobles and the mob, it looked bad.

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Those factions who had always opposed her, chief among them

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the hard-line Protestants, now rose up against Mary and her power-hungry new husband.

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And Scotland teetered on the point of civil war.

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Mary and Bothwell met their opponents outside Edinburgh,

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ready to calm their kingdom with violence.

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But on the battlefield, Mary begged her opponents to avoid bloodshed...

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and to allow Bothwell to escape.

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In return, she offered herself into captivity.

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Mary was taken to Lochleven Castle.

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When the nobles came to force her to sign her abdication documents,

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at first, Mary resisted.

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But there was only so long she could put up with the threats to her life.

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So she signed.

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And gave up her power.

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Gave up...her country.

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A few months later, Mary escaped and tried to get it back.

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But it was too late.

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The army that she raised was defeated at Glasgow

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and Mary fled to England, where she threw herself on Elizabeth's mercy.

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But Elizabeth put her back in prison.

0:29:280:29:30

# The Lord shall out of Zion send

0:29:350:29:40

# The rod of Thy great power

0:29:400:29:44

# In midst of all thine enemies... #

0:29:440:29:50

The future of Scotland once again rested on the shoulders of a Stuart infant.

0:29:500:29:55

This is the 110th psalm.

0:29:590:30:01

And it is believed to have been sung

0:30:010:30:03

at the coronation of Mary's son, James,

0:30:030:30:05

here in the Church of the Holy Rude in Stirling.

0:30:050:30:09

# ..From morn's womb

0:30:090:30:11

# Thy youth like dew shall be... #

0:30:110:30:15

It was the worst attended Scottish coronation of all time.

0:30:180:30:22

After the psalms came the sermon,

0:30:220:30:24

and it was given by the firebrand preacher John Knox himself.

0:30:240:30:27

# And, for this cause, in triumph

0:30:270:30:32

# He shall lift his head on high. #

0:30:320:30:41

It wasn't unusual for an infant to become a king, especially not a Stuart king.

0:30:430:30:47

But there was something momentous about the day

0:30:470:30:50

and it marked a turning point in the history of the nation.

0:30:500:30:53

For the first time, a King of Scotland had been crowned in a Protestant ceremony.

0:30:530:30:58

That ceremony sent a clear signal - when it came to religion,

0:31:030:31:08

Scotland was now firmly on the same Protestant side as England.

0:31:080:31:12

As James grew up, his religious education became the most important project in the land.

0:31:160:31:22

Scotland's leading scholar, George Buchanan,

0:31:230:31:26

was brought in to ensure that James was set against his mother's religion for good.

0:31:260:31:31

He had once been a confidant of Mary's, but then he had turned against her.

0:31:320:31:37

And now he had power over her son.

0:31:370:31:40

James and Buchanan spent a lot of their time here at Stirling Castle.

0:31:440:31:47

And through this little door is supposedly the schoolroom where they had all their lessons

0:31:470:31:52

in Latin, history and rhetoric and, of course, lots and lots of Bible lessons.

0:31:520:31:56

You can't help but feel for little James.

0:32:150:32:17

He was here without a mother or a father.

0:32:170:32:20

He was kept away from the people.

0:32:200:32:22

He was almost a captive himself.

0:32:220:32:25

And he wasn't here to do what he wanted - he was here to do what he was told.

0:32:250:32:30

To make matters worse, the man responsible for his education

0:32:340:32:38

was not above inflicting physical punishment.

0:32:380:32:41

After one beating inflicted by Buchanan, James's guardian,

0:32:410:32:44

the Countess of Mar, accused him of going too far.

0:32:440:32:48

Buchanan retorted, "I have whipped his arse, you may kiss it if you want to."

0:32:480:32:53

And just what was his tutor trying to beat into him?

0:32:590:33:02

Something his mother had never fully grasped -

0:33:020:33:06

the limits of royal authority.

0:33:060:33:08

In the new Protestant Scotland, the role of the monarch was under review.

0:33:300:33:34

The will of the people was what mattered now.

0:33:340:33:38

And Buchanan wanted to ensure that James got the message.

0:33:380:33:42

He even wrote a book to help James be the right sort of king.

0:33:420:33:46

Listen to this - it's from George Buchanan's personal note to James VI

0:33:500:33:54

at the start of his book about kingship.

0:33:540:33:57

"I have sent you this book to steer you through the reefs of flattery.

0:33:570:34:00

"It may not only admonish you, but also keep you to the path which you have once embarked upon.

0:34:000:34:06

"And if you should stray from it, rebuke you and drag you back again."

0:34:060:34:10

It's all couched in very affectionate language, but there's no mistaking Buchanan's intent.

0:34:100:34:15

It says to me that he wants to control the young prince.

0:34:150:34:19

In fact, he wants to create a puppet king.

0:34:190:34:22

Buchanan went on to say that if the King caused the people

0:34:300:34:33

to despise or distrust him by reigning like a tyrant,

0:34:330:34:37

the people were perfectly justified in getting rid of him.

0:34:370:34:41

It was meant as a warning, not necessarily as a prediction.

0:34:470:34:52

But just a few years later, James came to understand

0:34:520:34:56

exactly what his teacher had been trying to tell him.

0:34:560:35:00

A group of Protestant nobles lured 16-year-old James to this castle and took him prisoner.

0:35:030:35:09

James's crime?

0:35:110:35:14

He had been keeping dangerous company.

0:35:160:35:19

The company of an older, charismatic French cousin.

0:35:190:35:24

Esme Stuart was the only family James had ever known

0:35:270:35:31

and James had grown bold with him around.

0:35:310:35:34

Once-trusted advisors had found themselves sidelined -

0:35:340:35:38

some had even been executed -

0:35:380:35:40

and his cousin had been promoted in their place.

0:35:400:35:44

Esme Stuart was two things the Protestant nobles feared most.

0:35:460:35:49

He was French and he had Catholic sympathies.

0:35:490:35:52

Even more worrying, he had an influence, even a power, over young James.

0:35:520:35:58

Protestant nobles felt their power slipping.

0:36:020:36:05

And in England, Elizabeth grew worried at developments north of her border.

0:36:050:36:10

So, with her support, Esme Stuart was forced back to France.

0:36:120:36:18

And James came to share his captive mother's fate.

0:36:200:36:24

James stews in captivity, as days turn into weeks,

0:36:280:36:32

turn into months, and into a year.

0:36:320:36:35

He's just a young boy.

0:36:350:36:36

He knows his mother has been imprisoned in England for years, so maybe this is his lot.

0:36:360:36:41

Or perhaps his captors have another, more grisly fate in mind for him.

0:36:410:36:46

But his jailers didn't seem to know what to do with him.

0:36:490:36:52

For the best part of a year they moved him around the country.

0:36:520:36:56

Until, finally...

0:36:560:36:58

James escaped.

0:36:580:37:00

He sought out his loyal supporters and raised an army

0:37:070:37:10

to take on his captors and get his kingdom back.

0:37:100:37:14

A few skirmishes later, James marched into Edinburgh

0:37:280:37:32

and took full control of Scotland.

0:37:320:37:35

And it wasn't long before James showed just what kind of King he intended to be.

0:37:380:37:44

The book of his old tutor, George Buchanan,

0:37:440:37:46

that contained all those ideas of the King's rightful place -

0:37:460:37:50

the book designed to rebuke James and drag him back to the correct path -

0:37:500:37:55

was banned.

0:37:550:37:57

James would be guided, not by the will of the people,

0:37:570:38:01

but by God alone.

0:38:010:38:04

James would be an absolute monarch.

0:38:040:38:06

But what of England? And the Queen who had wanted James jailed?

0:38:180:38:22

Elizabeth was facing war in Europe

0:38:300:38:32

and now she sought an alliance with the Scottish King.

0:38:320:38:36

But James had a price in mind.

0:38:360:38:38

Nothing less than a guarantee that he would be her heir.

0:38:380:38:43

Childless Elizabeth guaranteed nothing.

0:38:430:38:47

But she did offer a bond of friendship

0:38:470:38:50

and Little Arthur was almost where he wanted to be.

0:38:500:38:54

But this so-called friendship was about to face its toughest test.

0:38:560:39:00

In her 19th year in Elizabeth's English prison, Mary had grown reckless.

0:39:110:39:17

Almost everything she'd hoped for had been lost -

0:39:180:39:22

the Catholic Empire, power in France, power in Scotland,

0:39:220:39:27

even her liberty.

0:39:270:39:28

So when she received an offer to join up to a murderous plot,

0:39:280:39:31

she said yes.

0:39:310:39:33

The plot was an elaborate one. Mary was to be liberated, Elizabeth was to be executed

0:39:370:39:42

and a Catholic army would land here on the south coast of England.

0:39:420:39:45

They would sweep up through the country to London and secure Mary's position.

0:39:450:39:50

It was nothing less than a plan for a Holy War.

0:39:500:39:53

Mary wrote a letter agreeing to Elizabeth's murder.

0:40:000:40:04

The letter was intercepted.

0:40:040:40:06

Mary was tried for treason and sentenced to death.

0:40:120:40:15

James now faced the toughest decision of his life.

0:40:230:40:26

Just how far should he go in pleading for the life of the mother he hadn't seen since he was a baby?

0:40:260:40:31

If was seen to be weak, if he did nothing,

0:40:310:40:33

then the Scottish people themselves might rise in defence of Mary.

0:40:330:40:37

But if he shouted too loudly, and severed his ties with England

0:40:370:40:41

and with Elizabeth, what would that mean for his place, his unspoken place, in the line of succession?

0:40:410:40:47

He sent ambassadors to London with clear, written instructions.

0:40:550:41:00

The one, "to deal very earnestly both with the Queen

0:41:000:41:03

"and her counsellors for our sovereign mother's life."

0:41:030:41:07

The other, "that our title to that Crown be not pre-judged."

0:41:070:41:12

In other words, do nothing to jeopardise my claim to the English throne.

0:41:120:41:18

James's next letter begged Elizabeth merely to exile Mary.

0:41:200:41:25

But by then, it was clear that James was not going to make war to save his mother's life.

0:41:250:41:31

# The lion and the unicorn were fighting for the Crown

0:41:340:41:38

# The lion beat the unicorn all around the town

0:41:380:41:41

# Some gave them white bread and some gave them brown

0:41:410:41:45

# Some gave them plum cake and drummed them out of town. #

0:41:450:41:49

The English Royal Coat of Arms bears a lion.

0:41:490:41:52

And the Scottish Coat of Arms bears a unicorn -

0:41:520:41:55

the mythical wild animal that cannot be tamed...

0:41:550:41:58

..except by a virgin.

0:42:000:42:01

Now, the Virgin Queen had tamed her troublesome unicorn.

0:42:070:42:11

Mary went to the block dressed as a Catholic martyr

0:42:170:42:21

and still claiming to be the rightful Queen of England.

0:42:210:42:24

Nothing became her in life like her death.

0:42:240:42:27

James expected Elizabeth to reward him for his loyalty,

0:42:420:42:46

but he was in for a shock,

0:42:460:42:47

as again, she refused to officially name him

0:42:470:42:50

as her chosen successor for the English Crown.

0:42:500:42:53

So James set about proving himself as a king...

0:42:530:42:57

in Scotland.

0:42:570:42:59

First, the Stuart line had to be strengthened.

0:43:100:43:13

James chose a wife, Princess Anne of Protestant Denmark,

0:43:130:43:18

who quickly gave birth to an heir, Henry.

0:43:180:43:22

And then she produced a spare, Charles.

0:43:220:43:25

Sometimes by force, but more often than not by guile,

0:43:280:43:31

James started to stabilise his turbulent kingdom.

0:43:310:43:35

Words were his main weapons and books were his ammunition

0:43:380:43:42

in the constant struggle to stay in control.

0:43:420:43:45

He even sought out copies of books from across the known world.

0:43:460:43:51

-What have we got here, Ian?

-Something rather intriguing -

0:43:570:43:59

a translation into Scots

0:43:590:44:02

of Machiavelli's famous treatise on statecraft, The Prince,

0:44:020:44:07

done by William Fowler for his sovereign, James VI.

0:44:070:44:11

And here is the first page.

0:44:110:44:13

"The Prince of Nicholas Machiavelli, secretary and citizen of Florence,

0:44:130:44:17

"translated furth of the Italian tongue."

0:44:170:44:20

Rather nice usage of "furth" - "out of" the Italian tongue.

0:44:200:44:25

What is The Prince all about? What's the essence of Machiavelli's work?

0:44:250:44:28

Power. The getting, keeping, the exercise of power...

0:44:280:44:34

and the use of it for the Prince's ends and for the good of his state.

0:44:340:44:39

Machiavelli's book The Prince has become the most famous book on power in the world.

0:44:450:44:50

It advises kings to act like a fox, as well as a lion, in keeping hold of it.

0:44:500:44:55

Which James did, amazingly well.

0:44:550:44:59

And gradually, he established himself as a king

0:44:590:45:03

who ruled with his head and not with his heart.

0:45:030:45:06

A son who was the opposite of his mother,

0:45:060:45:09

though every bit as ambitious.

0:45:090:45:12

Elizabeth's stubborn refusal to name James as her chosen successor became irrelevant.

0:45:190:45:24

The writing was on the wall for Tudor England.

0:45:250:45:28

And James was the only real contender for the Crown.

0:45:280:45:33

Like his mother, the perfect solution to a very English problem.

0:45:330:45:37

James had already proven himself to be an adept ruler in Scotland.

0:45:370:45:42

He'd succeeded where Mary had failed.

0:45:420:45:46

He was also the right sex and the right religion to rule in England.

0:45:460:45:50

And what's more, he had done something the Tudors had never been very good at -

0:45:500:45:55

he'd produced viable heirs.

0:45:550:45:56

Now, all he had to do was live longer than Elizabeth.

0:45:560:46:01

But Elizabeth lived on and on and on.

0:46:100:46:14

In fact, Elizabeth I lived longer than any English monarch had ever lived before.

0:46:180:46:23

Little Arthur was forced to bide his time and contemplate his master plan

0:46:250:46:31

for when he finally took over in England.

0:46:310:46:34

James was 36 when he received the news

0:46:480:46:51

he'd spent half a lifetime waiting for.

0:46:510:46:54

Elizabeth was dead.

0:46:560:46:57

The Tudors were finished.

0:46:590:47:00

And England needed a king.

0:47:020:47:04

James received the news just three days after the death of Elizabeth.

0:47:050:47:09

The king-makers wanted him to go down south.

0:47:090:47:12

He was to go immediately and directly to the seat of power.

0:47:120:47:16

But James had other ideas.

0:47:160:47:18

For one thing, he was going to take his time.

0:47:180:47:20

For another, he wasn't going to travel light.

0:47:200:47:23

He was going to take his whole entourage - all the pomp and circumstance he could manage.

0:47:230:47:27

This was to be a triumphal tour of the promised land.

0:47:270:47:30

Now, a moment that Scottish kings could only have dreamed of had arrived.

0:47:380:47:44

A Scottish takeover of England was happening...

0:47:440:47:47

..and the moment belonged to a king who had proven himself as a clever and effective ruler.

0:47:490:47:54

One of the most accomplished kings Scotland had ever produced.

0:47:540:47:58

He entered London just a few days after an outbreak of plague.

0:48:060:48:10

Shortly after, he took a barge along the Thames to the Tower,

0:48:220:48:26

where he finally saw the English Crown Jewels

0:48:260:48:29

that now belonged to HIM.

0:48:290:48:31

Put yourself in James's position.

0:48:360:48:38

This was the seat of power

0:48:380:48:40

of his most ancient foe - the enemies of his blood.

0:48:400:48:43

The people who had burned, raped and murdered his forebears,

0:48:430:48:47

who had sought to dominate his nation for 300 years,

0:48:470:48:50

were offering everything they had - throne and crown included - to him.

0:48:500:48:55

Imagine what that must have felt like.

0:48:550:48:58

After the grand entrance, the great words of welcome,

0:49:170:49:21

James unveiled his master plan.

0:49:210:49:24

And it went way beyond just being the King of two separate kingdoms.

0:49:240:49:28

Now, according to James, was the chosen moment for a new country to be born.

0:49:280:49:34

James had a crystal-clear vision of the future and his place in it.

0:49:400:49:44

This was to be a Great Britain -

0:49:440:49:46

united under a common religion, common laws and common citizenship.

0:49:460:49:51

He would be at the top - King and Emperor of it all.

0:49:510:49:54

And most crucially, it was to be a union of two equal nations.

0:49:540:50:00

But that was precisely where the problem lay.

0:50:000:50:04

"What's so equal about Scotland and England?" said the English nobility.

0:50:130:50:18

England, they thought, was clearly the superior nation -

0:50:180:50:23

richer, more developed, stronger.

0:50:230:50:26

What benefit would there be in joining with backward and impoverished Scots?

0:50:300:50:35

Yet...a Scot was now their King...

0:50:370:50:41

and he was determined to take his idea of Great Britain to Parliament.

0:50:410:50:47

It didn't exactly go down a storm.

0:50:490:50:52

James was accustomed to getting his own way with Parliament in Scotland.

0:50:550:50:59

He expected unquestioning obedience.

0:50:590:51:02

But the men here would not roll over - certainly not for an upstart Scot.

0:51:020:51:07

Inside Parliament, it quickly became clear that James wasn't about to get his own way.

0:51:100:51:16

And outside Parliament, relations between Scots and English

0:51:200:51:24

were on the point of breaking down.

0:51:240:51:26

James exacerbated the situation by his own actions.

0:51:330:51:36

He began to shower his inner Scottish circle with gifts -

0:51:360:51:40

money, pensions, land.

0:51:400:51:42

English estates were dealt out to Scottish nobles.

0:51:420:51:46

And suddenly, England seemed to be ruled by a clique of very powerful Scots,

0:51:490:51:54

blocking the way of English courtiers and nobles to riches and royal favour.

0:51:540:51:59

Scots in London began to acquire a reputation as being on the make and tightfisted

0:52:000:52:05

and closed ranks around their King.

0:52:050:52:08

Their prominence was to make them a target

0:52:080:52:12

in one of the most spectacular conspiracies in British history.

0:52:120:52:15

One group had come to especially hate James and his expatriate entourage...

0:52:170:52:22

..and decided to take matters into their own hands.

0:52:240:52:28

English Catholics felt the Scottish King had let them down with empty promises of tolerance.

0:52:290:52:36

And so they turned not only against James, but against all Scots in London.

0:52:360:52:40

One of these conspirators was a mercenary called Guy Fawkes.

0:52:440:52:48

The gunpowder was heaped up under the Houses of Parliament.

0:52:550:52:59

But the institution itself was not the target. King James was -

0:52:590:53:02

Protestant, Scottish, King James.

0:53:020:53:05

They later said they had enough gunpowder "to blast him all the way back to Scotland".

0:53:050:53:09

After the plot had been foiled, after Guy Fawkes had been tortured and made his confession,

0:53:100:53:15

it was revealed that the conspirators had detailed maps and plans

0:53:150:53:19

giving the locations of the houses of every prominent Scot in London.

0:53:190:53:23

What they had planned was nothing less than the ethnic cleansing of the whole city.

0:53:230:53:28

James's project for a peaceful, united Britain was in desperate trouble.

0:54:020:54:06

In the absence of meaningful progress, James resorted to symbols, to gestures,

0:54:080:54:14

to flags.

0:54:140:54:16

Once James was settled in London, he asked one of his English advisors

0:54:180:54:22

to come up with some designs for a new flag for his United Kingdom.

0:54:220:54:27

And don't the results give a telling insight into the mindset of the English establishment of the time?

0:54:270:54:33

Scots were gripped by the new fear that the independence of their unconquered nation was under threat,

0:54:370:54:44

that a Scottish king would do with the pen what no English king had been able to do with the sword -

0:54:440:54:50

turn Scotland into a satellite of England.

0:54:500:54:53

Scotland would now be outranked by England

0:54:530:54:57

"and thereby loss her beauty for ever," said one commentator.

0:54:570:55:02

Scotland will turn into "a pendicle of England", said another.

0:55:020:55:05

The Union flag, with the English cross set on a Scottish background,

0:55:110:55:16

was what James chose to represent his united kingdoms.

0:55:160:55:20

But in James's lifetime, it was no more than a reminder of what might have been,

0:55:200:55:25

of an idea whose time hadn't yet come.

0:55:250:55:29

The people of the islands, both Scots and English alike,

0:55:330:55:37

weren't ready to be British.

0:55:370:55:39

And so Project Britain ground to a halt.

0:55:390:55:43

For centuries, English kings had used the prophecy of King Arthur's return

0:55:490:55:55

to try and justify their attempts to subdue Scotland.

0:55:550:55:58

But in one of the great ironies of British history,

0:55:580:56:01

it was Scotland's own Little Arthur, James, who fulfilled that prophecy.

0:56:010:56:06

What James had seen as a great victory for Scotland, other Scots felt as a loss.

0:56:100:56:16

For the first time, Scots now found themselves ruled from distant London

0:56:180:56:23

and a new reality dawned.

0:56:230:56:25

By 1603, the Scottish people had a powerful sense of their identity

0:56:340:56:39

as an ancient and free nation,

0:56:390:56:42

unconquered by successive waves of invaders,

0:56:420:56:45

who had fought time and again to secure their freedom and forged a place in Europe.

0:56:450:56:50

They had also created a unique and distinctive court.

0:56:500:56:54

But the events of 1603 weren't just a further step along that road.

0:56:540:56:58

They were the decisive turning point in Scotland's story.

0:56:580:57:02

The peace and co-operation that 1603 seemed to promise would be short lived.

0:57:150:57:20

In the century to come,

0:57:200:57:21

Scotland and England would experience a terrible escalation of violence

0:57:210:57:26

in a furious civil war to resolve just what Britain actually meant

0:57:260:57:31

and what sort of country the new Scotland would become.

0:57:310:57:35

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:57:570:58:00

Neil Oliver describes how the ambitions of two of Scotland's Stuart monarchs were the driving force that united two ancient enemies, and set them on the road to the Great Britain we know today.

While Mary Queen of Scots plotted to usurp Elizabeth I and seize the throne of England, her son James dreamt of a more radical future: a Protestant Great Britain.


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