of the playing card
marked with the Nine
has it that the order to execute Mary, Queen of Scots
was written on the back of a nine of diamonds.
This of course prompts the obvious question "Was there no other paper available? Was there some sort of paper shortage in England that year, that the monarch was forced to issue commands on whatever happened to be lying around at the time? Wouldn't that make card games rather difficult to play after a while?" Tragically, we may never know the answer.
Note: Gorgonzola informs me that at the time, England was not yet manufacturing her own paper -- so while the story remains rather far-fetched, it is at least possible that the playing card was the best available surface to bear the Royal decree. Weird.