Esmé Stuart

(1st Duke of Lennox)

c.1542 - 1583

Noble and supposed homosexual lover of King James VI (1566 - 1625). A cousin of James' father Lord Darnley (1545 - 1567), Stuart was born and brought up in France. On his arrival in Scotland, he was befriended by the lonely young King James. James showered titles on his favourite, including Lord Chamberlain, First Gentleman of the Bedchamber, Earl of Lennox (1580) and Duke of Lennox (1581). He also gave Stuart properties, such as Arbroath Abbey and Dumbarton Castle.

Stuart became very influential over James and it was he who persuaded the King to have the Earl of Morton, who had been Regent, arrested and executed.

Following worries about the relationship between Stuart and James, and the suggestion that Stuart was a French spy intent of restoring Roman Catholicism to Scotland, the Earl of Gowrie (1541 - 1584) forced King James to banish Stuart.

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