Beheading Mary Queen of Scots

Mary Queen of Scots, lost her head because she didn’t know enough computing.

She was held under house arrest for years by Tudor Queen, Elizabeth I. She sent secret messages to her followers using a secret code. In the letters they plotted to assassinate Elizabeth.

Elizabeth’s spy master Walsingham intercepted all the messages and because he knew an algorithm to crack codes, he could not only read them but he added his own messages on the end using the same code.

The extra message on a letter to the plotters asked if they could tell Mary everyone involved so “she could be sure she trusted them”. To Mary he added a question asking her to “confirm you want the plot to go ahead”. They both answered in letters he then read. Walsingham had the evidence to execute them all.


Message that matters: learn computing to save your life


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INFINITY-TIME-iStock_000015068781MediumMore ancient history


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