Parchment documents relating to Galileo's heresy trial, the execution of Mary Queen of Scots and Henry VIII's divorce will go on display today in an unprecedented exhibition of 100 documents from the Vatican Secret Archives.

The archives, jealously guarded by popes and cardinals for centuries and kept under lock and key, contain one of the world's richest collections of historical papers, spanning more than 1,000 years, from the 8th century until modern times.

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