The years 1569 to1584 were Mary Stuart’s years of captivity. This time of both intense monotony and despair was spent in various Castles….BOLTON, CHATSWORTH, SHEFFIELD, TUTBURY, WINGFIELD as well as FOTHERINGHAY, where Donizetti’s opera “Mary Stuart” takes place. She was well treated at great expense in these castles. Elizabeth spent 56 Pounds per week on her during the 20 years of her captivity. Mary Stuart also received an annual pension of 1200 Pounds. She never had fewer than 50 people in her service and ate from silver plates. Elizabeth named George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, to be her constant guard. Before she was executed, Talbot was replaced because he was too kind to her. In Donizetti’s opera, we can see the relationship of these two historical figures in the beautiful scene where Mary Stuart confesses her sins to Talbot, because she is not allowed to have a Catholic priest come to her before she is killed.