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Posthumous portrait of Mary Queen of Scots

The chambers at Holyrood are filled with items associated with Mary

? Scotland

The Darnley Jewel or Lennox Jewel c. 1571-8

Gold, enamel (émail en ronde bosse, émail basse-taille), Burmese rubies, Indian emerald and cobalt-blue glass | 6.6 x 5.2 cm | RCIN 28181

Mary, Queen of Scots' Outer Chamber, Palace of Holyroodhouse

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This jewel was likely made for Lady Margaret Douglas (1515–78), Countess of Lennox, Regent of Scotland in 1571. Margaret was the mother of Lord Darnley, the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. The heart-shaped jewel is richly decorated with many emblems and inscriptions, while compartments conceal further emblematic devices. These allude to the turbulent history of the Lennox family and probably also Lady Margaret’s hopes and ambitions for her grandson, James, son of Mary and Lord Darnley, who later became James VI and I.

The jewel was purchased by Queen Victoria in 1842 from the collection of the antiquarian Horace Walpole.