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"He wrote of the plans he was making to "ensure the dispatch of the usurping competitor". I asked Joseph who Babington meant by "competitor". It is Queen Elizabeth, and by "dispatch", he means murder. Babington and his friends intend to kill the Queen."
Kitty Lumsden[2]

The Queen's Spies: The Diary of Kitty Lumsden is the thirty-third fictional diary in the My Story series. It was written by Valerie Wilding and serves as a sequel to her Bloody Tower. The book was first published in December 2005 and republished in May 2008 as To Kill a Queen. It was the last My Story book until the series was relaunched with Princess of Egypt in 2008.

Kitty Lumsden witnesses the unfolding of the Babington Plot, a plan that threatens the life of Queen Elizabeth.


"For my dear friend, Ragnhild Scamell
Always there (except when it thunders)

Book description[]

"2nd February 1585
Joseph came to say goodnight. We sat against the pillows, my quilt around our shoulders, and I spilled out my fears of Spanish boats, and one queen cruelly murdered while another rides through the night to claim her bloodstained throne. "Don't you worry about Mary Stuart's supporters?" I asked. "Suppose they did manage to free her? Suppose they did kill the Queen and claim her throne? We Protestants would be in danger, would we not? Like when Bloody Mary reigned." I had another terrible thought. "It would be doubly dangerous for our family. The Queen gives Mother a gift every year... Father works for the Queen... We would all be thrown into the Tower."

"It's the 1580s. Queen Elizabeth's enemies plot to kill her and place Mary Queen of Scots on the throne. While Kitty's father works on secret projects for Elizabeth, her brother's mixing with suspicious characters. As Mary's supporters edge closer by the minute, Kitty fears the worst... that they'll all be thrown into the Tower."


In November 1583, Matilda "Tilly" Lumsden encourages her twelve-year-old daughter, Catherine "Kitty", to write in a diary. Kitty starts by writing about her family's lives in London. Her father Nicholas works in service of Queen Elizabeth, though she does not exactly what he does. She has five siblings in total. Her older brothers are Richard whom works at court, and the naive Joseph whom is trying to study to be a lawyer. Kitty's best friend is her cousin Edmund Middleton. She visits him often at the Tower of London, where his family lives. She learns that the Tower's latest prisoner, Francis Throckmorton is accused of plotting to overthrow the Queen and corresponding with her rival Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots.

Kitty feels pity for Mary Stuart, whom fled to England several years previously and has been imprisoned ever since. Her mother, however, explains to Kitty that many Catholics would love to put Mary on the throne and have the Protestant Elizabeth assassinated. One day, Joseph brings home a friend, Anthony Babington. He soon becomes a fixture at their home and often brings other friends. Kitty soon becomes suspicious of Babington for being Catholic and for knowing Mary Stuart, whom he still talks fondly of. In June 1584, Edmund becomes an apprentice to his father whom is a physician. Kitty devises a studying scheme so that she and Edmund can still spend time together regularly.

In late 1584, the Queen's secretary of state, Francis Walsingham, creates the Bond of Association, a law to have anyone who attempts to usurp the throne executed. Kitty believes that Sir Francis is also a spy for the Queen and that her father may work for him. Sir Francis brings Thomas Phelippes, an expert at deciphering codes, to the Lumsdens' home in mid-1585. In the meantime, Kitty starts writing secret messages to Edmund to avoid his nosy sister, Kathryn. Once she finds their hiding place, Kitty comes up with a secret code. However, Kathryn still manages to find them wherever they go. In November of that year, Anthony returns to London after spending several months abroad with friends.

In January 1586, Kitty learns that Mary Stuart has been moved to Chartley. She later overhears her father and Richard speaking about a plot to intercept Mary's letters. Kitty becomes increasingly worried about Joseph's friend Anthony, especially after learning about his association with Ballard, whom is plotting against Elizabeth with the Spanish. She convinces Joseph to stop seeing Anthony, though he feels guilty for abandoning a friend. In August, Ballard and Babington are arrested along with their associates. Mary Stuart is also accused to being involved in the plot. A month after Babington's execution, Kitty and her family go to Greenwich Palace, where they are honored by the Queen.

Historical Note[]

The note begins with the history of Elizabeth I from her birth to her ascension to the throne. Following her sister Mary's reign, Elizabeth opted for a more tolerant view on religion. Due to several Catholic plots, she passed several laws, such as banning priests from England and fining citizens whom did not attend an English, or Anglican, church regularly. Mary, Queen of Scots became a focus for those who wanted to restore England to Catholicism. Sir Francis Walsingham had a network of such spies looking out for such plots and knew that they would continue as long as Mary, Queen of Scots lived. However, Elizabeth was reluctant to bring harm to her cousin.

Mary, Queen of Scots was eventually implicated in the Babington Plot. Elizabeth was reluctant to sign her death warrant and attempted to recall it from her secretary William Davison. The warrant was delivered and Mary was executed on 8 February 1587. Elizabeth "flew into a violent rage" when she learned about the execution. She had William Davison sent to the Tower of London. For the rest of her life, the situation continued to "weigh heavily on [her] mind." A timeline of Tudor and Elizabethan events is included along with seven photos.


Main article: List of The Queen's Spies characters


Main article: Valerie Wilding

Valerie Wilding is a British author of over eighty books whom primarily writes for children. She is the author of six books in the My Story series, including Bloody Tower, Road to War, Highway Girl, No Way Back, and Wartime Princess. Bloody Tower is the prequel to The Queen's Spies. Wilding was happy to write The Queen's Spies as many readers had asked her what happened to Tilly from Bloody Tower.[3]

Shared continuity[]

The Queen's Spies is the sequel to Valerie Wilding's previous title, Bloody Tower. The book was first published in October 2002 and was later included in the My Royal Story line. Bloody Tower follows Kitty's mother Matilda "Tilly" Middleton, whom lives at the Tower of London during a particularly turbulent time of the Tudor period.



  • The portrait on the cover of the first edition is a detail of Joos van Cleve's 1527 painting Portrait of a Woman.[7]
  • The cover of the second edition, To Kill a Queen, was illustrated by Richard Jones.


See also[]

My Story

The Hunger | Voyage on the Great Titanic | The Crystal Palace | Blitz | My Tudor Queen | Twentieth-Century Girl
The Great Plague | The '45 Rising | Civil War | Trafalgar | The Trenches | Battle of Britain | Mill Girl | Transported
Armada | Crimea | Bloody Tower | Indian Mutiny | Zulu War | Mayflower | Agincourt | Suffragette | Waterloo | Slave Girl
Flying Ace | Anne Boleyn and Me | D-Day | Victorian Workhouse | Spy Smuggler | Desert Danger | War Nurse
U-Boat Hunter | The Queen's Spies

1st relaunch

Princess of Egypt | Pompeii | Road to War | Roman Invasion | Viking Blood | Highway Girl | Sophie's Secret War
The Storm to Come | The Sweep's Boy | The Fall of the Blade | Pyramid of Secrets | Factory Girl | Dodger!
No Way Back | Wartime Princess | London Stories | Berlin Olympics | Lady Jane Grey | Nowhere to Run

2nd relaunch

Codename Céline

3rd relaunch

Noor-un-Nissa Inayat Khan | Ignatius Sancho | Princess Sophia Duleep Singh | Mary Prince

My Royal Story

Victoria | Anastasia | Cleopatra | Marie Antoinette | Elizabeth | Mary, Queen of Scots | Henry VIII's Wives

My True Story

What If They Find Us? | Hero at Dunkirk | Standing Alone | Give Us the Vote!

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