World's oldest football – fit for a Queen

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A LITTLE-known fact about Mary, Queen of Scots was that she enjoyed sport. Mary would swing a golf club or tennis racket from time to time and she was a spectator at sporting competitions. But did she also play football – Scotland's national sport?

During an excavation project inside Stirling Castle in the mid-1970s, workers came upon a small round object tucked behind the thick oak-panelled walls of the bed chamber once used by Mary. What they found was a leather ball, slightly larger than a softball. But it was not just any ball.

This little grey orb has been determined to be the oldest football in the world - dating back to the mid-16th century and signifying the earliest known reference to the sport and royalty. While horse racing has long been known as the Sport of Kings, perhaps football was once the Sport of Queens.

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