Mary Queen of Scots letter sells for more than £6,000

Philip Gregory, Lyon and Turnbull auctioneers: "It is the ultimate sick note"

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A 450-year-old letter described as one of the world's oldest sick notes has been sold at auction in Edinburgh.

In it, Mary Queen of Scots excuses a nobleman from his duties because he was suffering from gout.

The letter was dated 14 March 1554 and was recently verified as having been written by Mary in her own hand.

The 16th Century document came from Blair Castle in Ayrshire and sold for more than £6,000 at Lyon and Turnbull's auction.

The letter was sent by Mary to the Laird of Blair, and relieved him of his duties at court as he was suffering from the painful condition, which attacks the big toe.

Blair Castle is said to be the oldest continually inhabited mansion in Scotland.

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