Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots lecture

Key stage





Special events; Tudors


Audio (372kb), PDF (372kb)

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Dr John Guy (Clare College, Cambridge)


Listen to renowned historian Dr John Guy’s lecture on Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots. He discusses these two anointed queens who never met in life yet they lie buried at Westminster Abbey just a few metres from one another in the stunning Lady Chapel, built by Henry Tudor. Dr Guy explores how the question of succession, the influence of male advisors and the need to maintain the religious settlement affected their relationship.


Download the podcast link and accompanying teachers’ notes document, including a full transcript, information about the speaker and the event, plus a list of follow-up questions to spark further discussion.  


This lecture was recorded at Westminster Abbey’s annual History Masterclass event on 22nd January 2020. Please note that all opinions are of the individuals speaking and do not represent the views of Westminster Abbey.

Curriculum links

Themes covered in this lecture are aligned to:


  • Elizabeth and religion
  • The nature of the Elizabethan monarchy, government and parliament


  • Elizabethan government: court, ministers and parliament; factional rivalries
  • Foreign affairs: issues of succession; Mary, Queen of Scots


  • The causes of and development of the challenge: problem posed by Mary, Queen of Scots; court politics and faction; the role of the Duke of Norfolk; economic and religious insecurities of the northern nobility; Mary’s arrival in 1568.