When studying the lives of Elizabeth I and her rival cousin Mary Stuart, modern interpretations paint a fairly definitive picture of their perceived personalities. Elizabeth’s character is revealed through titles such as ''Elizabeth I, Red Rose of the House of Tudor'' by Katherine Lasky, ''Elizabeth I: Queen of England’s'' Golden Age by Paul Hilliam, or Clark Hulse’s Elizabeth: Ruler and Legend. Mary Stuart, however, is painted in a much different light. Recent works detailing the life and actions of the Queen of Scots can not be found in the romance section, though their titles include John Guy’s ''My Heart is my Own'', and Jenny World’s ''Mary, Queen of Scots: Pride, Passion and a Kingdom Lost''. We are left with an image of a fierce and fiery Elizabeth, presiding over a ‘Golden Age’ of England, while her bumbling cousin, preoccupied with love and lust is allowing her country to slip away. How then, did Mary Stuart present herself as a threat to the grand Elizabeth, and was that threat worth her life? On February I, 1587 Queen Elizabeth signed a death warrant that sealed the fate of another anointed Queen. By the following week, Mary Stuart had been executed.<ref>Jenny Wormald, ''Mary, Queen of Scots: Pride, Passion and a Kingdom Lost''. (London: Tauris Parks Paperbacks, 2001), 190. </ref> Was Mary's death justified?
[[File:Elizabeth_I_when_a_Princess.jpg|thumbnail|Elizabeth I in 1546]]
==Mary’s and Elizabeth’s Early Years==
Both Elizabeth and Mary had come to their thrones at tumultuous times. Mary became Queen of Scotland at only six days old when her father, James V died shortly after hearing the news of her birth.<ref>John Guy, ''Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart.'' (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005), 15. </ref> Elizabeth was the second child of King Henry VIII, and daughter of Anne Boleyn. Anne was Henry’s second wife and Elizabeth was born into a troubled England with a new Protestant faith.<ref>J.E. Neale, ''Queen Elizabeth''. (Chicago: Academy Chicago Publishers, 2001), 1. </ref>