Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Past Chronicles
Past Chronicles

Mysteries

The Mystery Behind Mary, Queen of Scots’ Death Mask

Mary Stuart, more commonly known as Mary, Queen of Scots, led a highly controversial life. She was only six days old when she ascended to the Scottish throne after her father, the late King James V of Scotland, passed away. She spent most of her early years in France and married King Francis II. After his death, she returned to Scotland and married her half-cousin Henry Stuart four years later. Their son James VI and I reigned after her death.

The famous queen was executed in February 1587. As a monarch and member of a royal family, Mary was still given a death mask even if she was not given a public funeral.

A death mask is a replica of a person’s face made after death. It is often made by deriving an impression or a cast from the corps. Because photography was not yet invented during that time, people used it to preserve the likeness of the deceased.

The Queen of Scot was sentenced to death by beheading. However, it took several blows before her head falls off from her neck. But her suffering did not display any signs of trauma on the queen’s face, based on the four death masks. Two of which are still existing today.

One of the queen’s death masks, referred to as the Lennoxlove mask, belonged to the Dukes of Hamilton and was kept in their estate at Lennoxlove, East Lothian, for over 250 years. It comes with a casket containing some of the controversial Scottish monarch’s possessions, including the sapphire ring left to the first Marquis of Hamilton and the infamous casket letters.

The box’s content was recently featured in a free exhibition in Edinburgh, while Lennoxlove was closed for two years for refurbishment and conservation. At that time, the Duke of Hamilton revealed that the reason they allowed the public to see the important artifacts is to let the people see one of the finest collections of family portraits in Scotland and relive a special place in the history of the country.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Mary’s other popular death mask is called the Jedburgh mask. It was first discovered in Peterborough, where she was initially buried before her transfer to Westminster Abbey. It is currently on display at the Mary Queen of Scots House in Jedburgh.

One of the existing death masks of Mary, Queen of Scot displayed in Jedburgh, Scotland.

People can notice that both death masks do not look the same. The Lennoxlove mask is smaller and almost bare, except for the lashes and eyebrows. Meanwhile, the Jedburgh mask was painted, which appears like the late queen had makeup on during her death.

Controversies still hound the queen long after her death. Antonia Fraser, one of the numerous biographers who focused on her life, believes that the mask in Lennoxlove belonged to one of the early ladies in the Hamilton family. Due to lack of evidence, it would be a challenge to prove both death masks’ authenticity.

The mystery regarding the death masks of Mary, Queen of Scots will most likely continue until new evidence comes out soon.

Riley Brown
Written By

Riley is a history, lifestyle, and entertainment writer living in San Diego. He received his bachelor's degree in Journalism and Multimedia from the University of Oregon. His work has been featured in many finance and lifestyle publications throughout the US. When he is not writing, Riley enjoys reading and hanging out at the beach with his dog.

Advertisement

You May Also Like

History

There is a deep history behind the symbol of the fleur de Lis. For many centuries, it has developed various meanings as well as...

Mysteries

If you happen to travel to Chihuahua, Mexico, be sure to visit the La Popular wedding dress shop. You may find the wedding dresses...

U.S. History

Frank Rushan, or commonly known as Andre Rand, is an alleged serial killer who was guilty of kidnapping two kids. Currently, the American convict...

Nostalgia

Over the years, there has been an appreciation for shows that dealt with families. These shows could be comedies that allow people to laugh...

Nostalgia

Historians and discoverers are constantly looking out for anything that can reveal the history of the world. They can use anything from unearthed pots...

Nostalgia

The fashion of European and European influence clothing in the era of 1860s dresses can be characterized by voluminous women’s fashions that rely on...

World History

The classical village took its name from the 12th-century Castle, which stands about 1/3 mile or 500 m to the north. The Castle called...

World History

Sarah Kyolaba passed away silently in London in 2015, but her life was nothing near peaceful and discreet when she was still living with...