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The Darnley 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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Dynastic history was of great importance to both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and throughout their marriage they purchased and commissioned works with special royal significance.

This gold locket, known as the Darnley Jewel, was one such purchase, made by Queen Victoria in 1843 following the sale of the collection of the notable antiquarian Horace Walpole. The Darnley Jewel is believed to have been commissioned by Lady Margaret Douglas, mother-in-law to Mary, Queen of Scots, and grandmother of James I and VI, and is replete with complex iconographical decoration relating to Lady Douglas's ambitions for her royal grandson.