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LORD DARNLEY
(1545-1567)

Of both Stewart and Tudor blood, Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, was a main claimant to the thrones of both Scotland and England.

His ambition in this respect coupled with political naivety and ineptitude would lead to his downfall and murder.

The marriage of Darnley to Mary Queen of Scots was, from his point of view, a matter of political expediency therefore. Since it gave them mutal claim to both the Scottish and English thrones.

Even Mary, genuinely in love with him, needed a strong counterbalance to give her the means of assertion over her half-brother, the Earl of Moray.

Darnley soon revealed his self-interest and weakness by murdering Rizzio, the Queen's secretary at Holyrood Palace out of jealousy and frustration. He often threatened to leave the country, or divorce Mary
but he fell ill possibly with smallpox before he could act on his threats.

Mary took him to a house at Kirk o' Field to convalesce under her own supervison. On the night of 9 February, hours after the Queen had left for a ball at Holyrood, the house was destroyed in a huge explosion.

Remarkably, however, he was discovered in a garden 40 yards away, not burnt, but strangled to death. Mary's next husband, the Earl of Bothwell, was convicted of the murder and the Queen too, was suspected - the catalyst for her political downfall, incarceration and eventual execution'.


 
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