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Mary Queen of Scots

Mary Queen of Scots

From 30 June 2016
Hunterian Art Gallery
Admission free

Medal commemorating the marriage of Mary Queen of Scots and Henry Darnley.This rare medal commemorating the marriage of Mary Queen of Scots to Henry Lord Darnley in 1565 has been recently acquired by The Hunterian.

The obverse shows portraits of the couple facing each other with the inscription, ‘Mary and Henry by the grace of God Queen and King of Scots’. The reverse bears the arms of Scotland, the lion rampant. Appropriately the inscription, again in Latin, reads ‘Whom God has joined together let no man put asunder’.

Mary’s first husband, King Francis II of France, died in 1560. Mary, aged 18, returned to her Scottish realm and five years later married her cousin. She bestowed on him the title of king. Two years later Henry was murdered. Their only child became James VI of Scots and later James I of England.

Five specimens of the medal are known, two with crowned busts and three, as here, without crowns. Contemporary portraits of Mary (1542-87) are rare. Her image is found in paintings, drawings, engravings, miniatures and some Scottish coin issues. However, many of these are posthumous.

Acquired with the aid of an ArtFund grant.