Letter written by Mary Queen of Scots for sale

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A 450-YEAR-OLD letter written by Mary Queen of Scots will be put up for sale at an auction next week.

The letter, which was unearthed at Blair Castle, Ayrshire, is said to be written to the then Laird of Blair, relieving him of his duties at court due to gout.

Dated March 14, 1554, it has been valued at £3,000 and is one of more than 1,000 items to come from Blair Castle which are going under the hammer in Edinburgh. The items are expected to fetch a total of around £500,000.

Blair Castle is said to be the oldest continually inhabited mansion in Scotland and the home of the Barony of Blair, where the current family can trace their ancestry back to William the Lion (1165).

Gavin Strang, director of auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull, said: “The sale has a total estimate of £500,000 and is a unique glimpse at Scottish history through the ages, it includes things from ‘above and below stairs’ making this the ‘sale of the century’, as nothing has been sold by the family for over 900 years.”