Elizabeth I and Mary I: Half-sisters as well as total enemies (in their adult lives, anyway). Protestant vs. Catholic, and daughter of “that whore, Anne Boleyn” vs. daughter of “the ex-queen, a.k.a. not my mother, Catherine of Aragon.” As years progressed, the schism between these two ladies widened and widened.
So wouldn’t they be thrilled to know they’d be rubbing elbows in death? For some reason, the girls are buried in the same magnificent tomb in Westminster Abbey. There is an eerie but beautiful aisle on the north side of the Lady Chapel, which asks for silence with little “Shhhh” signs posted on the walls. Within these walls lay the remains of James I’s little daughters, and supposedly those of the Princes in the Tower, Edward V and Richard.
And in a large monument nearby, Elizabeth’s coffin is plopped on top of her half-sister Mary’s. Only Liz’s striking figure is commemorated on the effigy. Mary seems to be an afterthought (although at her funeral in 1558, the new queen Elizabeth provided for every pomp and circumstance). But a plaque tells us she’s in there, so who am I to argue? It reads, ” “Partners both in throne and grave, here rest two sisters, Elizabeth and Mary, in the hope of the Resurrection.” Let’s hope they’re getting on better in the Afterlife!