A queen’s ransom for Mary’s rare letter
A letter signed by both Mary, Queen of Scots, and her ambitious husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, is expected to fetch up to £20,000 at auction later this month.
The formal document was written at Holyrood House in Edinburgh on August 4, 1565, just six days after the couple were married.
The single sheet, acknowledging a grant of property by the queen’s mother, Mary of Guise, is one of only two documents jointly signed by the couple that have appeared at auction in the last 40 years.
It is also significant as the 19-year-old Darnley appears to proclaim himself King of Scotland.
The document is signed “Marie R”, meaning Regina or Queen, and “Henry R”, with flourishes beneath the largest letter “R” meaning Rex, or “King”.
Mary and Darnley married on July 29, 1565, after a whirlwind courtship, but Darnley’s demands to be crowned king of Scotland in his own right quickly alienated both his wife and the Scottish nobles.
Although they had a son, the future King James VI and I, Darnley was murdered in Kirk o’ Field, Edinburgh in the early hours of February 10, 1567.
Thomas Venning, of sellers Christie’s, said: “It is very rare to find something that is signed by both Mary and Darnley.”