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Posthumous portrait of Mary Queen of Scots

The chambers at Holyrood are filled with items associated with Mary

François Clouet (c. 1520-72)

Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-87) c. 1560-61

RCIN 403429

Mary, Queen of Scots' Bedchamber, Palace of Holyroodhouse

Mary, Queen of Scots is shown in white mourning dress (en deuil blanc) to mark the loss of three members of her immediate family within a period of 18 months: her father-in-law, Henri II of France, her mother, Mary of Guise and her husband, Francis II. In August 1560, Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, the English ambassador, remarked on Mary’s intention to send a similar portrait to her cousin Elizabeth I. He quotes her as saying

I perceive you like me better when I look sadly than when I look merrily, for it is told me that you desired to have me pictured when I wore the deuil

Mary, Queen of Scots' letter to Elizabeth I