A new report published in the journal Cryptologia has revealed that a collection of letters marked with unique symbols and filed incorrectly in the digital archives of the National Library of France actually belonged to Mary, Queen of Scots – or Mary Stuart – according to Vice.
Computer scientist George Lasry teamed up with a musician and physicist to conduct the study, decoding 57 letters and adding 50,000 words to the historical canon which, prior to the research, were unknown .
“Historically, such codes were solved manually, with a lot of try-and-error…[but] this could take from days or weeks up to months to never,” Lasry said. “The computerized process is in a sense similar to the manual one, except that we are doing it mechanically, less relying on human intuition.”
The letters offer new clues about the circumstances under which Queen Elizabeth I imprisoned her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, on the grounds of treason. They also reveal information regarding the terms of Mary’s requested release and her misery over the abduction of her son, James, who later became King James I of England.
The researchers employed an algorithm and manual analysis to break the code and verify that Mary had written the letters between 1578 and 1584 to the French ambassador to the court of Queen Elizabeth I in London, Michel de Castelnau Mauvissière, according to BBC News.
“It’s a stunning piece of research, and these discoveries will be a literary and historical sensation,” said Dr. John Guy of Clare College Cambridge, the leading historian on Mary, Queen of Scots.
Mary was ultimately beheaded in the year 1587 for her involvement in a plot to murder Queen Elizabeth I.