Mary Queen of Scots treasures to go on display at National Library

The exhibition at the National Library of Scotland will explore depictions of Mary Stuart through the ages.
The exhibition at the National Library of Scotland will explore depictions of Mary Stuart through the ages.
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Childhood letters by Mary, Queen of Scots and other rare treasures will be on display for two days at an exhibition marking the anniversary of her execution.

The exhibition of items from the National Library of Scotland’s collections will explore depictions of Mary Stuart through the ages – from the lavish engravings of a Mary, Queen of Scots-themed masked ball in 1820s France to 20th- and 21st-century film scripts and ephemera.

Visitors will also be able to see Mary Stuart’s childhood correspondence with her mother, Mary of Guise, and a letter to the French ambassador in England written in the early days of her captivity.

There will also be an early charter with Mary’s Great Seal.

READ MORE: You can now visit Mary Queen of Scots and Outlander filming locations on exclusive new tour

It comes as Mary Queen of Scots, starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, is on release in cinemas.

The exhibition will run on Friday, February 8 and Saturday, February 9, marking the anniversary of her execution on February 8, 1587.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “This exhibit, which brings together Mary, Queen of Scots items that have never before been seen together, shows that she was as much a household name during her lifetime as she is now.

“Highlights will undoubtedly be Mary Stuart’s handwritten letters which are held in the library’s collections – opportunities to see treasures like these are almost as rare as the items themselves.”

Other items on display will include a detailed series of engravings from 1791 depicting her execution, as well as a digitised presentation of her last letter complete with translation and interpretation.

The free exhibition at the National Library of Scotland, on George IV Bridge, will be open from 10am to 4pm on both days.

The exhibition was announced days after it emerged that historic sites, protected landmarks and visitor attractions across the country with links to Mary, Queen of Scots are to be showcased in a tourism campaign aimed at capitalising on the launch of the big-screen depiction of the tragic monarch.

A new interactive map created to mark the film’s UK release this weekend features 19 different locations which were either visited by Mary or deployed by the makers of the movie. Highlights include Mary’s birthplace town of 
Linlithgow, where a month-long celebration of the West Lothian town’s links is under way.

Businesses in Linlithgow are being urged to create special window displays and sell Mary-themed products to herald the release of the film, which features Hollywood stars Saoirse Ronan as the Scottish monarch and and Margot Robbie as her cousin, English Queen Elizabeth I.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse, where Mary lived between 1561 and 1567, Wemyss Castle, in Fife, where she met her second husband, Lord Darnley, in 1565, and Huntingtower Castle, in Perthshire, are on the map.