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A set of irreplaceable gold rosary beads, belonging to Mary Queen of Scots, which the doomed royal carried to her execution in 1587, have been stolen in a £1 million raid.

Police are now looking for the thieves, hoping the treasure can be retrieved following the robbery at Arundel Castle in West Sussex.

They were taken from display cabinets in the part of the castle open to the public, and officers were dispatched after a burglar alarm was set off.

But the whereabouts of some of the nation’s other historic artefacts and relics still remain a puzzle, as James Moore reveals…

King Harold’s body

Historians still argue about whether England’s last Anglo Saxon king, Harold II, was really killed by an arrow in his eye at the Battle of Hastings – and also where his body ended up.

Some think he was buried near his birthplace in Bosham, Sussex, others think Waltham Abbey in Essex was his last resting place.

Jack the Ripper’s note

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In 1888, as police searched for the serial killer terrorising London’s East End, he supposedly sent a note titled “From Hell” inside a box with part of a kidney – possibly from one of his female victims.

A photo was taken of the letter, but the original items were somehow mislaid, meaning vital clues to the identity of the still unknown culprit were lost.

Nelson’s diamond

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A 300-diamond hat piece, known as a chelengk, was given to British ­naval hero Lord Nelson by the Turkish sultan after his victory at the Battle of the Nile.

The seven-inch jewel even had a central rotating gem powered by clockwork. It was stolen from London’s National Maritime Museum in 1951.

Cat burglar George Chatham later confessed to the crime but the jewel was never recovered.

King John’s jewels

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In 1216, King John attempted to cross a tidal ­estuary in East Anglia with his crown jewels – but they were washed away.

Despite countless attempts to find the treasure, nothing has turned up.

Cézanne’s painting

In January 2000, thieves broke into Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, stealing a £3million painting by artist Paul Cézanne called View Of Auvers-sur-Oise.

The work is still missing.

Shakespeare’s play

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For centuries scholars have been desperate to get their hands on a copy of William Shakespeare’s work, Love’s Labour’s Won, first mentioned in 1598, but to date no copies have turned up.

Pepys’ gold

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In 1667, fearing the Dutch were about to invade London, diarist Samuel Pepys had his wife bury his gold in the grounds of his country house in Brampton, Cambs.

When the threat passed, he went to dig it up, but couldn’t find it. It’s probably still lurking there.

Oliver Cromwell’s head

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When Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660, the Civil War leader’s body was dug up and his head put on a spike.

There have been competing claims to what happened to the skull.

  • In the News

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