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Last letter written by Mary Queen of Scots, on 8 February, 1587 (the night before her execution), to her brother-in-law, Henri III of France.

Identifier: Adv.MS.54.1.1

Scope and Contents

Mary has been unable to obtain her papers in order to make her will. She is to be executed the following morning at 8 o`clock. She has been deprived of her chaplain. She recommends her servants to her brother-in-law, and begs that money may be provided to found an obit and to make the requisite distribution of alms.


  • Creation: 1587.


Conditions Governing Use

Microfilm available: Mf.Sec.MSS.89.


0.00 Linear metres (2 folios. Folio.)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

The letter was in the archives of the Scots College in Paris until the French Revolution, when it passed into the hands of the Chevalier d`Hervilly, and subsequently became the property of Messieurs Feuillet de Conches and B Fillon, and later of Mr Alfred Morrison, from whose widow it was purchased in 1917 by 26 subscribers, with a view to its being presented to the Nation. It was presented to the Advocates’ Library in 1923 through the National Art-Collections Fund.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented, 1925, by the Faculty of Advocates to the nation on the foundation of the National Library of Scotland.


The letter is printed (apart from older sources, not directly dependent on the original) with facsimile, in ‘Catalogue of Autograph Letters and Historical Documents’ by Alfred Morrison, volume 4 (1890), pages 210-211; and, with facsimile and translation, by the National Art-Collections Fund (London, 1918).
For a discussion of the watermark, which appears to belong to the Denise family of Troyes, see ‘Bulletin Official de la Chambre Syndicale du Commerce des Papiers de France’ by Henri Alibaux (1938), page 6410.
National Library of Scotland Catalogue of Manuscripts
National Library of Scotland
01 09 2015
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Repository Details

Part of the National Library of Scotland Archives and Manuscripts Division Repository

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