The Historic Apartments at the Palace of Holyroodhouse were once the home of the ill-fated Mary, Queen of Scots, following her return from France in 1561. Mary married Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, at Holyroodhouse in 1565 and the following year witnessed the brutal murder of her Italian secretary, David Rizzio, by her husband.
The visit to Holyroodhouse includes Mary, Queen of Scots’ Chambers and the Darnley Rooms, the setting for many dramatic episodes in Mary’s short and turbulent reign. In the Palace’s west corner tower are Mary’s Bedchamber, described as ‘the most famous room in Scotland’, and her Outer Chamber, the scene of Rizzio’s murder.
At the far end of the Outer Chamber is the oak-panelled oratory, or prayer niche, that Mary would have used for her personal devotion. In Mary’s time, the window in the niche looked directly on to the west entrance of Holyrood Abbey Church. In the course of refurbishment, the original ceiling panel of the oratory was recently uncovered. It is decorated with the cross of St Andrew encircled by a royal crown.
Please note that there is no wheelchair access to Mary, Queen of Scots’ Apartments, as they are reached by a steep spiral staircase of 25 steps. A virtual tour of the rooms is available on the e-Gallery computer terminal just off the Great Gallery. Please ask a Warden to assist you.