Henry Stuart

(Lord Darnley)

1545 - 1567

Henry Stuart, Lord Darney (1555)
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Henry Stuart, Lord Darney (1555)

Royal consort. Cousin and second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-87), and father of her only child and heir King James VI (1566 - 1625). Darnley was born in Leeds (England), the son of exiled Matthew Stuart (1516-71), the powerful Earl of Lennox. Darnley's Catholic sympathies and his tall and handsome appearance induced Mary to marry him in 1565. Within 18 months he had alienated his wife and most of the nobles by his arrogance and drunken behaviour. Further, he was the prime conspirator in the murder of David Rizzio (1533-66) at the Palace of Holyroodhouse and also plotted to seize the throne from his wife. Soon Darnley was without friends and was murdered at Kirk o' Field in Edinburgh; the house had been blown up and Darnley was found strangled in the garden. The culprit was almost certainly James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell (1536-78), who subsequently married the Queen.

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