British police have arrested a man in connection with the theft of artefacts worth over £1 million ($1.37 million), including the gold rosary beads of Mary, Queen of Scots, stolen from Arundel Castle earlier this year.
On Tuesday, Sussex police announced in a statement that a 45-year-old man had been arrested in Eckington, Worcestershire on suspicion of burglary. The suspect remains in custody for questioning.
A treasure trove of “valuable items of irreplaceable historical significance” was robbed from the landmark in the raid, which took place late on the evening of May 21. Among the stolen artefacts were seven gold/silver-gilt coronation cups, as well as the rosary beads Mary, Queen of Scots carried to her execution.
“Our investigation into the Arundel Castle burglary remains live and this action marks a significant step in our enquiries,” Detective Inspector Alan Pack of Sussex Police said.
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According to the police, the thieves used ladders to reach the castle’s dining room area, where a window was forced to gain entry. In June, a reward was offered for the safe return of any of the stolen items in their original, undamaged condition.
A professor at Reading University, Kate Williams, remarked shortly after the burglary that most of the Scottish monarch’s belongings had been ruined before her execution to avoid the Catholic queen being hailed as a martyr. The beads were the “one tiny memorial” the nation had left of her.
Mary was deposed from the Scottish throne and executed in 1587 on the orders of her Protestant cousin Elizabeth I. The Scots queen had been imprisoned for around 18 years prior to her death and was beheaded at the age of 44.
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