Arundel burglary: 'irreplaceable' artefacts stolen from historic castle in £1 million raid

Among the treasures taken was a set of gold rosary beads that belonged to Mary, Queen of Scots

Arundel Castle was raided just days after reopening. Unsplash
Arundel Castle was raided just days after reopening. Unsplash

A number of "priceless" artefacts have been stolen during a raid at Arundel Castle, only days after the historic British landmark reopened.

More than £1 million ($1.42m) worth of items were taken during the burglary, which occurred on the evening of May 21 at the West Sussex castle.

Among them was a set of gold rosary beads that belonged to Mary, Queen of Scots. The royal, who lived in Tudor Britain, carried the beads to her execution in 1587.

"The rosary is of little intrinsic value as metal, but as piece of the Howard family history and the nation’s heritage, it is irreplaceable," said Sussex Police in an appeal for information.

Several coronation cups given by Mary to the Earl Marshal, as well as numerous other gold and silver treasures, were stolen in the raid.

The items were taken from a display cabinet located in a publicly accessible area of the castle.

“The stolen items have significant monetary value, but as unique artefacts of the Duke of Norfolk’s collection have immeasurably greater and priceless historical importance," said a spokesperson for Arundel Castle Trustees.

"We therefore urge anyone with information to come forward to the police to assist them in returning these treasures back where they belong.”

The burglary took place only days after Arundel Castle reopened to visitors on Tuesday, May 18, with the landmark previously closed during UK lockdowns.

The medieval castle, founded in the 11th century, has been the seat of the Duke of Norfolk for more than 400 years. It houses a number of artworks, furniture, artefacts and personal belongings of Mary, Queen of Scots.

The former Queen of Scotland, also known as Mary Stuart or Mary I of Scotland, was the only surviving legitimate child of King James V of Scotland.

Though she ruled for more than two decades, she was later forced to abdicate her throne and spent 18 years imprisoned by Queen Elizabeth I, who saw the royal as a threat to her position. After being found guilty in 1586 of plotting to assassinate the English queen, Mary was executed the following year.

Updated: May 24, 2021 04:10 PM

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