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Posthumous portrait of Mary Queen of Scots

The chambers at Holyrood are filled with items associated with Mary

Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-87)

A catte c. 1569-84

Embroidered canvas panel | 29.5 x 29.5 cm | RCIN 28224

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This embroidered panel depicts a ginger cat and a mouse, seated on a chequered floor, bearing the cipher of 'May, Queen of Scots'. Mary was an adept needlewoman and the Royal Collection has this and the following panel, which demonstrate her skill. It has been suggested that in this panel Mary was alluding to herself as the mouse and Elizabeth I as the cat. When Mary escaped from Scotland in 1568, she fled to England to seek help from her cousin, Elizabeth 1. Instead of providing refuge, the English queen put her in the custody of George, Earl of Shrewsbury. Most of her embroideries were carried out between 1569 and 1584 during this captivity.