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Embroidery by Mary, Queen of Scots

Detail of the embroidery made by Mary, Queen of Scots whilst in captivity ©

This fascinating example of Mary, Queen of Scots’ skills as a needlewoman is kept at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. It is an embroidered panel bearing her cipher that depicts a ginger cat with a mouse. Today, it is displayed in Mary, Queen of Scots’ Outer Chamber in The Queen’s Apartments at the Palace, which Mary occupied from 1561 to 1567. However, the embroidery most likely dates from the period after she fled Scotland and was held captive in England by Queen Elizabeth I. In fact, it is an intriguing possibility that the cat and mouse may be an allusion to Mary’s relationship with the English queen.

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Posthumous portrait of Mary Queen of Scots

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Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-87)

A catte c. 1569-84