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Reign Wiki
Season Four Episode
Coup de Grace
Season 4, Episode 13
Coup de Grace
Air date May 19, 2017
Written by John J. Sakmar
Kerry Lenhart
Directed by Megan Follows
<font-family:Trajan Pro;font color="white">Episode Guide
The Shakedown


A Bride. A Box. A Body.
"No one understands loss until they've felt it."
Lord Narcisse


It's Husband Against Wife as Darnley Works to Ruin Mary
Darnley teams up with John Knox to strip Mary of her throne, which will leave a close friend of Mary's dead. Elizabeth must banish Gideon from Court at the request of her future husband, while Charles takes a bold stance against his brother Henri.


Prince Henri seizes an English ship as well as the cargo it carries and has the captain apprehended for failing to pay taxes to the Crown. When Queen Elizabeth hears of it, she is annoyed, but not enough to wage war over it. Instead, she sends Gideon Blackburn to negotiate concessions from France without risking military action. She laments Gideon leaving her, but he has an idea: anytime she is overcome with desire, she ought to write it down.

Meanwhile, Narcisse and Catherine are discussing how Nicole is "smothering" Narcisse with her "exhausting affections", with Henri's ear pressed to the door. He doesn't let on, though, when he then walks after being summoned by Narcisse. Narcisse makes it clear to Henri that he will meet with Gideon to handle negotiations alone, as Henri's antagonistic view of England could plunge them into war.

Meanwhile, Mary and Darnley are playing a cat-and-mouse game as Mary attempts to sneak into an underground study in the middle of the night. Using a secret enterance, she gets into the room undetected and finds Bothwell and David Rizzio already waiting for her. They've found out why the privy council has been voting against Mary: Darnley's been bribing them. Luckily, Mary has a plan to sway the privy council to her side.

The next day, Narcisse and Blackburn begin negotiating at French court. "Return of all seized ships and cargo, and formal apology" are Gideon's demands, but Narcisse sees things quite differently: he asserts that there will be no apology, formal or otherwise, and no payment. Frustrated, Gideon threatens a military response should France not reconsider her position.

Henri tells Narcisse not to give England the cargo back, because the cargo is saltpeter - a product used to make gunpowder. Spain has requested that they divert the saltpeter to them, which Henri agrees with but Narcisse is not so sure about.

In Scotland, Mary announces her pregnancy to the court. Before Darnley has a chance to deny that he is the child's father, the courtiers are chanting, "long live the king". While Darnley steps into the crowd, showered with love and adoration, Rizzio praises Mary's quick-thinking.

Out in the hall, John Knox is enraged - now that Darnley has claimed the child as his own, they have no leverage over Mary and they cannot "rid" themselves of her. Darnley makes it clear that he is not looking to do away with Mary, but Knox is out of ideas, and so is Darnley.

Mary's plan was a success - nearly all the council members who were prepared to grant Darnley The Crown Matrimonial have changed their minds. However, the influential Lord Ruthven has not. Mary asks Rizzio to find the privy council ledgers and see if there is any evidence of Ruthven's financial wrongdoing. Rizzio is ready to take on the task at once, but before he goes, Mary thanks him for all that he has done for her.

Meanwhile, Henri joins Nicole on a stroll, over the course of which he tries to convince her that Narcisse is manipulating her. Nicole isn't eager to listen, but Henri asks for a chance to prove it to her.

Gideon and Narcisse are back at the negotiating table - but upon further review, France's position has changed. Narcisse is no longer willing to return the cargo, seeing as it is saltpeter. However, Gideon correctly guesses that Narcisse is driven by his own personal revenge against Elizabeth, who executed his wife, Lola. He advises Narcisse to find love again, otherwise the bitterness will "destroy" him. In exchange for Gideon's wise advice, Narcisse sends him to King Charles, whom he believes will be more receptive to England's demands.

Mary and Rizzio summon Lord Ruthven and confront him about discrepancies in the privy council ledger. Ruthven denies it and ignores Mary's threats to expose him as a crook, instead choosing to maintain his trust in Darnley. However, before he can leave, Rizzio chases him down and presents him with the more damning evidence - he knows Ruthven is homosexual and will expose him as such, even if that would mean going down with him, if Ruthven votes for Darnley to receive the Crown Matrimonial.

Later, Knox is shown fuming at having lost Lord Ruthven's allegiance. He is ready to take out Mary, but Darnley has a better idea - trying her for adultery. They scheme to catch her in the act with Bothwell, and when they do, Mary will be forced to abdicate and Bothwell will lose his head.

The Archduke of Austria has suddenly returned to England, which makes Elizabeth nervous. However, as she walks into a room decorated with flower petals, her nerves ease up - until she sees the Archduke grimacing while holding the smut that she wrote for Gideon. Forunately, Elizabeth manages to convince the Archduke that the smut is about him, not Gideon, and the Archduke tells her that he has his family's blessing to wed her.

After discussing the King's art collection, Gideon gets to the heart of why he has paid him a visit - he has found out that Spain is trying to influence the outcome of the negotiations between France and England, with the aid of his brother Henri. According to Henri, by returning the ships and cargo to England, Charles would have shown Spain and his brother who truly wields the power in France.

In the evening, Bothwell bursts into Mary's chamber with the news that she is in grave danger - her husband and privy council are planning to overthrow her. Bothwell tries to convince Mary to retreat to safety with him, but she insists on staying and showing strength. She instructs Bothwell to collect her allies and regroup at Dunbar, where she will meet them later.

Rizzio walks in and informs Mary and Bothwell that Darnley and Ruthven are already headed to Mary's chamber. Mary shooes Bothwell out and attempts to do the same with Rizzio, but he insists on being her witness. When Darnley, Ruthven, and the rest of the privy council barge into the room and see Mary and Rizzio are shown playing chess, they bewildered as to where Bothwell is.

Mary offers to pardon them all if they leave at once, but Ruthven emboldens his fellow councilmen to get rid of the "French imposter" and "whore of a queen" like they've always wanted. They take Rizzio and, despite Mary's shrieks and protests, pass him around while they each stab him at least once. Eventually, Rizzio falls to the floor and Ruthven pulls out his dagger and runs it through his heart. Darnley lets go of Mary, who also falls to the floor while crying out, "what have you done?"

In France the next day, in accordance with Henri's plan, Nicole sets a gift on Narcisse's table and she and Henri hide in the closet to witness his reaction to the gift. Catherine and Narcisse enter, and upon seeing the necklace along with the slogan, "so that I may stay close to your b*ating heart, always", they begin mocking it. As Catherine muses on how all that she and Narcisse had and lost, Henri tends to a sobbing Nicole. The two are then forced to watch as Catherine and Narcisse get it on.

Dawn soon breaks in Scotland too as Mary experiences flashbacks to the gruesome murder that took place in front of her a mere few hours ago. She tries to stand up, but when a sharp pain prevents her from doing so, she alerts the guard to get her husband - there is something wrong with the baby!

However, when Darnley comes, Mary reveals that she was pretending and only needed to talk to him in private. She warns Darnley that Knox is using him, and that once Knox and the privy council abolish the monarchy, they will turn on Darnley. Mary asks him to help her escape the castle, and once they do, they will take back all that is their as king and queen.

In a private chamber few hours later, Nicole is crying and lamenting her naivety in trusting Narcisse to Henri. Henri tells Nicole that she deserves someone that cares for her - someone like him - and they get it on as well.

When night falls, Mary and Darnley sneak out of the castle and ride out on horseback. They stop in a forest to rest a few hours' distance from the castle, when suddenly, Darnley starts having doubts. He assumes that once he and Mary reach Dunbar, Bothwell is going to call for his head. And so, despite Mary's pleas to come with her, Darnley leaves her stranded in the forest.

In England, Elizabeth and the Archduke are having dinner. The Archduke is completely smitten - he can't stop staring at her - and decides he would like to make things official. However, before he does, he tells Elizabeth that he knows the smut wasn't for him and asks her to break up with Gideon Blackburn - the man it was meant for. Elizabeth feels tricked at first, but after a little persuadion, agrees to send Gideon away from court and move forward with the Archduke.

On his return, Narcisse congratulates Gideon for what he achieved. When Gideon asks Narcisse why he helped him, Narcisse replies that he thought it would be nice for both of them to claim a victory for their respective countries. Gideon praises Narcisse's statesmanship and tells him that Lola would be proud of him. They both agree that the time has come to bury the past and move on.

Charles returns to court and summons Henri to the throne room. Charles tells Henri that has thwarted his plan with Spain and that he will never have anything that belongs to him. Nicole, who is standing beside Charles, shares a knowing glance with Henri, who walks away smiling.

Mary arrives alone at Dunbar and tells Bothwell what happened. She delivers yet another inspiring speech to her loyal followers, telling them that their loyalty won't be forgotten and that the traitors will pay with their lives!


Captain Evans: Isn't it enough that your brother already butchered the man who owned this ship?!
Prince Henri: It is not.

Nicole Touchet: You think Narcisse is manipulating me?
Prince Henri: I think you're a beautiful, ambitious, young woman who's learned to pull the strings of men, and yet can't see when her own strings are being pulled.

Lord Narcisse: No one understands loss until they've felt it.

Queen Mary: We are married because I couldn't take England without you. What makes you think that you can take England without me?


Death Toll [1][2]
- David Rizzio


Historical Notes[]

  • The timeline of the show is set back 5 years, but the events that took place in it are historically accurate.
    • Lord Darnley demanded The Crown Matrimonial and when Mary Stuart refused him, he began scheming against her.
    • By March 1566, Darnley had entered into a secret conspiracy with Protestant lords, including the nobles who had rebelled against Mary in the Chaseabout Raid.
    • Mary was 7 months pregnant when held at gunpoint while her long-time companion David Rizzio was being butchered. His murder was lead by Lord Ruthven and he was stabbed 56 times by King Darnley and his friends.
    • Two days after Rizzio's murder, a disillusioned King Darnley switched sides, and on the night of March 11/12, Darnley and Mary escaped Holyrood Palace and took temporary refuge in Dunbar Castle before returning to Edinburgh, Scotland on 18 March. The former rebels James Stuart, Argyll and Glencairn were restored to the council.
      • Mary and Darnley escaped from (and returned to) Holyrood Palace, not Edinburgh Castle as the visuals show. However, they are just over a mile apart.
  • There is strong evidence to support that David Rizzio was homosexual.
  • David and Mary had known each other for approximately 5 years as they had met in 1561, after Mary's return to Scotland, until his death in 1566.
  • Prince Henri said he doesn't care for Queen Elizabeth. However, 10 years later in 1570, Prince Henri and Queen Elizabeth were in talks to possibly marry and produce an heir. Elizabeth is viewed by historians as having intended only to arouse the concern of Spain. Nothing ever happened, as Elizabeth was 37, while Prince Henri was 19.
  • There was speculation that King Henry III was a homosexual. He never had any children, and there were rumours of affairs with his Les Mignons. However, no male sex partners have ever been identified. The rumors were believed to have been political assassination since he failed to produce an heir.
  • Queen Elizabeth was never in a romantic relationship with the Archduke of Austria. He was still married to his first wife, and would be for another 20 years until 1580.



Actor Character
Adelaide Kane Queen Mary
Megan Follows Queen Catherine
Rachel Skarsten Queen Elizabeth
Craig Parker Lord Narcisse
Ben Geurens Gideon Blackburn
Spencer MacPherson King Charles
Will Kemp King Darnley
Guest Staring
Adam Croasdell Lord Bothwell
Andrew Shaver David Rizzio
John Ralston Lord Ruthven
Nick Slater Prince Henri
Ann Pirvu Nicole Touchet
Steve Byers Archduke of Austria
Megan Hutchings Jane
Character debut
Speaking debut
Episode debut