Wednesday, 9 August 2006

The Face of a Martyr?

Cardinal Newman obviously has a better chance of beatification than Mary Queen of Scots, but there have been moves over the years to promote her cause. At the time of her execution in 1587 she was widely regarded across Catholic Europe as a martyr.

Now the Catholic Queen's death mask has been put on public display at the Edinburgh auction house of Lyon and Turnbull. The relic is usually kept at Lennoxlove, the home of the Duke of Hamilton, which is currently undergoing renovation. According to reports, 'the wax mask was placed over Mary's face in order to preserve her features forever. Eyelashes, eyebrows, hair and paint were added later to give the mask a lifelike appearance.'

The death mask gives us a glimpse of the real Queen of Scots, revealing something of the charm and beauty that captivated so many. Her noble bearing seems to have survived the long years of captivity and the headsman's axe. Another fascinating link to the past!


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