Catherine de Medici was renowned across Europe for lavish jewellery (Wikipedia)
A 16th-century hairpin, thought to belong to the wife of Henry II of France, has been discovered in a communal toilet.
The antique was found down the pan at Fontainebleau Palace outside Paris and had conservators scratching their heads as to why it was not found in a more royal setting.
The pin is thought to belong to Catherine de Medici, who was queen consort of France from 1547 to 1559.
A design on the pin, which is 9cm (4 in) long, shows a pair of interlocking C's - standing for Catherine. Fontainbleau Palace's conservator Vincent Droguet said he noted a finish of white and green, Catherine's colours, when the grime was cleaned off the pin.
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The discovery was made by conservators who dug around the old toilet as the surrounding area was prepared for restoration.
The find is a valuable one as Catherine was renowned for her lavish jewellery, yet the majority of it has been lost or stolen over the centuries.
However, Droguet said it was a mystery how the pin would end up in a communal toilet, which would have been used by all, rather than in her royal chambers.
He said: "What would Catherine de Medici be doing there? Maybe it was a lady-in-waiting who took it. Perhaps it was stolen and just fell in."
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