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Digital Subscriptions > History Revealed > November 2015 > Top 10: Spies in history

Top 10: Spies in history

As James Bond returns to the silver screen, we reveal the stories behind ten incredible real-life 007s

FRANCIS WALSINGHAM

(C1532-90)

Nationality: English

Allegiance: Elizabeth I

Infiltrated: England’s Catholic network

THE TUDOR SPYMASTER Elizabeth I and Francis Walsingham discuss Mary, Queen of Scots’ conspiracy
GETTY X5, PRESS ASSOCIATION X1

As secretary of state near the end of the Tudor dynasty, Francis Walsingham became Elizabeth I’s ‘spymaster’, with a self-defined brief to identify and destroy any Catholic conspiracies against the Protestant Queen. His tactics ranged from intercepting letters to authorising torture, in the process employing a network of informers and experts.

Walsingham’s most notable manoeuvre was the entrapment of Mary, Queen of Scots, having successfully implicated her in a plot to remove Elizabeth from the throne. To Mary’s complaints of his underhand modus operandi, Walsingham replied: “I have done nothing unworthy of an honest man, and as secretary of state, nothing unbefitting my duty.”

MATA HARI

(1876-1917)

Nationality: Dutch

Allegiance: The Germans

Infiltrated: France

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