Claire Lui
April 16, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Recent royal shenanigans look tame compared with what John Guy unearths in Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart (Houghton Mifflin, $28). Some scandalous tidbits from the 16th century…

* At nearly six feet, Mary towered over her 5′ 4” cousin/enemy, England’s Elizabeth I.

* Mary’s white wedding dress was unusual: At the time, white was the color of mourning.

* Mary’s second husband, Henry, Lord Darnley, was a bisexual described as ”more like a woman than a man.” At the time of his murder in 1567, he was being treated for syphilis with large doses of mercury — which killed his gum tissue and induced severe halitosis.

* When Mary was beheaded in 1587, her lips continued to move, and when the executioner went to collect her head, he picked up a cap and a mass of curls as her nearly bald head rolled toward spectators.

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