A copy of the execution warrant for Britain’s Mary Queen of Scots has been sold for over UKP70,000.

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The document will remain in the UK after the library at London’s Lambeth Palace – the official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury – purchased it with the help of heritage bodies’ donations for UKP72,485.

The warrant led to the Catholic queen’s execution in February 1587 at Northamptonshire’s Fotheringhay Castle and is signed by Mary’s cousin England’s Queen Elizabeth I.

The copy of the original document – which was lost shortly after the execution – faced being taken overseas after it was purchased by a private buyer but it will now be held at the London library, which is open to the public.

Dr Richard Palmer, the Lambeth Palace librarian, said: “The library is delighted to have played its part in saving this document for the nation.

“The warrant is now reunited with the papers with which it belongs and accessible for the benefit of all.”

The document includes instructions from the principal clerk to the Privy Council, Robert Beale, to the commissioners sanctioning the execution.

The note reads: “Repair to our Castell of Fotheringhaye where the said queene of Scottes is in custodie and cause by your commaundement execution to be don uppon her person.”

Beale originally delivered the warrant to Henry Grey, the sixth Earl of Kent, one of the two commissioners who organised the eventual execution.