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Patrick Gray


(6th Lord Gray, Master of Gray)

? - 1612

Diplomat and 'favourite' of James VI, with a career steeped in intrigue and treachery. Gray was raised as a Protestant and educated at the University of Glasgow. In 1575, while still young, he married Elizabeth Lyon, daughter of John, the 8th Lord Glamis (c.1544-77), but the marriage quickly failed. Gray removed himself to France, became a Roman Catholic and joined the supporters of Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-87), who by this time lay in an English prison. He returned to Scotland in 1583, and immediately endeared himself to the young James VI (1566 - 1625) through the knowledge Gray had obtained of his mother, while conspiring with James Stewart, Earl of Arran (d. 1595) to ensure Mary remained in captivity.

Gray was appointed Ambassador to England in 1584 and took the opportunity to plot the downfall of Arran while advancing his own position. He brokered negotiations between Elizabeth I and James over the fate of Mary, having decided that she should be executed or quietly assassinated. However, Mary's execution brought Gray's own down-fall; when he returned to Scotland it became clear that public opinion thought her execution harsh and Gray was held responsible. He was declared a traitor, jailed and banished from Scotland for a short time. James remained fond of Gray and allowed him to return in 1589, restoring his offices.

Gray quickly returned to his discreditable career. With Francis Stewart, 5th Earl of Bothwell (c.1562 - c.1614), he attempted to take his king hostage at Falkland in 1592 and was party to a variety of other distasteful events. Surprisingly James continued to support him.

In 1585, Gray married again. His bride was a cousin of his king, Lady Margaret Stuart, daughter of Robert Stewart, Earl of Orkney (1533 - 1593), who was the illegitimate son of King James V (1512-42). The Master of Gray succeeded his father as the 6th Lord Gray in 1609, only three years before his death.


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