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Embroidery by Mary, Queen of Scots

An embroidered panel, of cruciform shape, depicting a ginger cat with a mouse on a chequered floor, bearing the cipher of Mary, Queen of Scots. 
The Scottish Queen was a skilled needlewoman and there is another panel by her in the Royal Collection. A
Embroidered panel ©

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

Explore the fascinating life of Mary, Queen of Scots in our Collection Trail

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Learn more about the embroidery:

Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-87)

Embroidered panel c. 1569-84