Rosary app

Mary Queen of Scots’ golden rosary stolen during castle raid

A wax death mask of Mary Queen of Scots made in 1587 after her execution is displayed at Lyons and Turnbull auctions in Edinburgh, Scotland August 1, 2006. REUTERS/David Moir

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LONDON, May 24 (Reuters) – Gold rosaries worn by Mary Queen of Scots until her execution in 1587 were among historic treasures worth more than one million pounds ($1.4 million) stolen during a raid on a castle in the south of England.

Mary, a Roman Catholic, was ousted from the Scottish throne and then imprisoned, accused of treason and executed on the orders of her Protestant cousin Elizabeth I of England, a series of events that weigh heavily in the British imagination.

Several coronation cups as well as gold and silver items were also among the loot taken from a display case at Arundel Castle in West Sussex.

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Staff were alerted to the break-in on Friday evening and police arrived within minutes. Officers examine an abandoned 4×4 car that was discovered on fire shortly after the theft.

Sussex Police said the rosary had little value as a metal but was ‘irreplaceable’ as part of the national heritage.

“Various items of great historical significance were stolen,” police said in a statement.

Marie was briefly queen of France. She was then driven out of Scotland by rebellious aristocrats and fled south in 1568 aged 25, throwing herself at the mercy of her cousin Elizabeth.

But with many Catholics across Europe convinced that she had a better claim to the English throne than the Protestant Elizabeth, Mary was an unwelcome visitor.

She was confined to various English castles and prisons, convicted of conspiring against the English queen, sentenced to death for treason on charges she denied, and finally beheaded.

Andrew Griffith, the MP representing the area where Arundel Castle is located, said: “The whole nation joins in our sadness this morning. The theft of these irreplaceable artifacts linking us to our shared history is a crime against us all.

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Reporting by Andrew MacAskill, editing by Estelle Shirbon

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