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Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley

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Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley

A portrait of Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley (1554-1567).

Darnley was born in Yorkshire, the son of the 4th Earl of Lennox who was living there in exile. Related to both the Tudor and Stewart dynasties, Darnley's parents had ambitions for their good-looking son. In February 1565 Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) gave the 19-year old Darnley permission to go to Scotland. There he swiftly wooed Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-1587) - legend has it that he entertained her at Crookston Castle - and they were married in July of that year.

Mary discovered that Darnley was a violent man given to womanising and drinking. He became jealous of Mary's fondness for her secretary David Rizzio and conspired to have him murdered in 1566, in the presence of the pregnant Queen. The couple were briefly reconciled after the birth of the child (the future James VI), but Darnley soon began plotting to take the throne for himself.

At the end of December 1566 Darnley fell ill while visiting his father in the Drygate in Glasgow. Mary sent her own doctor to him and visited herself. She arranged for Darnley to come to her in Edinburgh at the end of January 1567. However, the house in which Darnley was staying was blown up on 9 February and his body found in a nearby field. It was alleged that he had been strangled but it is unclear if Mary was involved in the plot to murder a man who had so many sworn enemies.

Reference: PL.1927.248

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums

castles, clothing, Crookston Castle, fashions, hats, Lord Darnley's Cottage, murders, oil paintings, portraits, queens, ruffs

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