Sussex Police issued a press release on Monday asking for the public’s help after thieves fled with an estimated 1.7 million Canadian dollars (£ 1 million) of gold and silver items stolen from a showcase of the castle, the seat of the Dukes in West Sussex. of Norfolk for over 850 years.
Police said the castle’s burglar alarm went off at 10:30 p.m. local time on Friday and that police were at the scene “within minutes”.
But they weren’t quick enough to stop thieves from smashing a shop window and stealing several items of “great historical significance,” including the gold rosary worn by Mary Queen of Scots during her execution, and the cups of coronation offered by the Queen to Earl Marshall at the time.
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“Other treasures of gold and silver” were also taken away, but the police did not specify the objects.
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“The rosary has little intrinsic value as a metal, but as a piece of Howard family history and the nation’s heritage it is irreplaceable,” police said in the statement.
A spokesperson for the administrators of Arundel Castle said that while the stolen items have “significant monetary value”, they are “of infinitely greater and inestimable historical significance”.
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“We therefore urge anyone with information to report to the police to help them return these treasures to where they belong,” the spokesperson said.
Police are now investigating whether an abandoned vehicle found on fire nearby is linked to the raid.
Historian Dan Snow described the stolen rosary as “absolutely priceless” in a series of tweets on Monday.
Anyone with any information about the raid is urged to call Crimestoppers.
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Mary Queen of Scots was executed at the age of 44 by order of her English cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, in a grisly beheading that took three ax wounds to separate her head from her body.
The two queens have been rivals throughout their lives as Mary, a Catholic, became a leading figure for opponents of the Protestant rule of Queen Elizabeth I during the period of English reform.
Queen Elizabeth I’s father, King Henry VIII, broke with the Catholic Church in order to divorce Katherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn in the early 1530s.
Boleyn’s mother was a daughter of the Second Duke of Norfolk, and the family’s Catholic faith frequently brought them into conflict with the Crown after the Reformation – the Third Duke of Norfolk narrowly escaped beheading by Henry VIII but the fourth Duke of Norfolk was executed in 1572..
The Catholic nobleman had conspired to marry Mary Queen of Scots.