Lord Darnley
Lord Darnley
Biographical Information
Real Name: Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley
Title: King consort of Scots

Lord Darnley
Duke of Albany

Reign: 29 July 1565 – 10 February 1567
Born: 7 December 1545
Death: 10 February 1567
Age: 21
Gender: Male
Originally From: Yorkshire, England
Parents: Matthew Lennox (Father)

Margaret Lennox (Mother)

Wife: Mary, Queen of Scots
Children: King James VI
TV Character Information
First appearance: With Friends Like These
Portrays: King Darnley
Portrayed by: Will Kemp

Historical Figure

Lord Darnley was King Regent of Scotland after marrying the young Mary, Queen of Scots.


Darnley was born in 1545, in Leeds, England. Through his parents, he had claim to both the Scottish and English Thrones, as he was descended from both James II of Scotland and Henry VII of England.

Darnley's father, Matthew Lennox, had been declared guilty of treason in Scotland for his part in the war of the Rough Wooing, siding with the English as an opponent of Mary of Guise and Regent Arran, and his Scottish estates were forfeited in 1545. His father lived in exile in England for 22 years, returning to Scotland in 1564. Darnley's mother, Lady Lennox had left Scotland in 1528.

Lord Darnley was well educated and brought up conscious of his status and inheritance. He became well-versed in Latin and grew up familiar with Gaelic, English, and French. He excelled in singing, lute playing, and dancing.

Darnley was strong and athletic, a good horseman with knowledge of weapons and a passion for hunting and hawking. Darnley wrote a letter to Mary I of England in 1554 mentioning a drama or map he had made, the Utopia Nova. [1]


On 3 February 1565 Darnley left London, England and 9 days later he was in Edinburgh, Scotland. On 17 February he presented himself to Mary, Queen of Scots at Wemyss Castle. John Knox preached he danced a galliard with Mary that night. From then on, he was constantly in Mary's company.

As a preliminary to the marriage, Darnley was made Lord of Ardmanoch and Earl of Ross at Stirling Castle on 15 May 1565. An entourage of 15 men were made knights, including one of Mary's half brothers, Sir Robert Stewart of Strathdon, Robert Drummond of Carnock, and James Stewart. Mary sent John Hay, Commendator of Balmerino, to speak to Queen Elizabeth; Elizabeth demanded Darnley's return and gave John Hay plainly to understand her small satisfaction.

A proclamation was made at the Cross of Edinburgh on 28 July that government would be in the joint names of the King and Queen of Scots, thus giving Darnley equality with, and precedence over, Mary.

On 29 July 1565, the marriage took place by Roman Catholic rites in Mary's private chapel at Holyrood, but Darnley (whose was raised Catholic, but later influenced by Protestantism) refused to accompany Mary to the nuptial mass after the wedding.

Later in LifeEdit

Soon after Mary, Queen of Scots married Darnley, she became aware of his vain, arrogant and unreliable qualities, which threatened the well-being of the state. He was unpopular with the other nobles and had a violent streak, aggravated by his drinking. Mary refused to grant Darnley the Crown Matrimonial, which would have made him the successor to the throne if she died childless. By August 1565, less than a month after the marriage, William Cecil heard Mary had become pregnant.

Mary's private secretary, David Rizzio was stabbed 56 times on 9 March 1566 by Lord Darnley and his confederates, Protestant Scottish nobles, in the presence of the seven-months-pregnant Queen in her dining room. The murder (he was rumored to be the father of Mary's unborn child) was part of Darnley's bid to force Mary to cede the Crown Matrimonial.

When the Spanish Ambassador in Paris heard this news, the headlines were that Darnley "had murdered his wife, admitted the exiled heretics, and seized the kingdom." However, on 20 March, Darnley posted a declaration denying all knowledge of or complicity in the Rizzio murder. Mary no longer trusted her husband, and he was disgraced by the kingdom.

Mary and Darnley's son Prince James was born on 19 June 1566 at Edinburgh Castle. His godparents were Charles IX of France, Elizabeth I of England and Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy.

Following the birth of Prince James, the succession was more secure; in late 1566 and early 1567, Darnley and Mary appeared to be close to reconciliation as she was often seen visiting his chambers. Darnley, however, alienated many who would otherwise have been his supporters through his erratic behavior.


Darnley was murdered eight months after Prince James's birth. On 9 February 1567, his body and that of his valet were discovered in Edinburgh, Scotland, where they had been staying.

During the weeks leading up to his death, Darnley was recovering from a bout of smallpox. Darnley stayed at Kirk o' Field while Mary, Queen of Scots attended the wedding of Bastian Pagez, one of her closest servants, at Holyrood. Around 2 am on the night of 10 February 1567, while Mary was away, two explosions rocked the foundation of Kirk o' Field. These explosions were later attributed to two barrels of gunpowder that had been placed in the small room under Darnley's sleeping quarters. Darnley's body and the body of his valet. Darnley was dressed only in his nightshirt. It was determined that the two men were killed by strangulation, believed to have taken place after the explosion.


  • Lord Darnley's real name is actually Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley.
  • Had a son named Prince James with his wife, Mary, Queen of Scots.
  • His son's godparents were Charles IX of France, Elizabeth I of England and Emmanuel Philibert.
  • Lord Lennox was Lord Darnley's father. He was second cousins once removed to King James V, and (at best) third in line of succession for the Scottish Crown.
  • Lord Darnley did have Tudor Blood in him, through his mother Lady Lennox.
  • Lord Lennox was (at best) third in line of succession for the Scottish Crown. He spent most of his youth in exile in England, but returned to Scotland to assert his claims to the line of succession when King James V died in 1542.
  • Mary, Queen of Scots had briefly met her future husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley in February 1561 when she was in mourning for King Francis II. Darnley's parents, Lord and Lady Lennox, who were Scottish aristocrats as well as English landowners, had sent him to France ostensibly to extend their condolences while hoping for a potential match between the two.
  • History's Mary, Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley were married on On 29 July 1565 in Mary's private chapel at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Mary, Queen of Scots was 7 months pregnant, and was held at gunpoint and Riccio was stabbed numerous times. He was stabbed 56 times by King Darnley, and his friends. His murder was lead by Patrick Ruthven, 3rd Lord Ruthven
  • War of the Rough Wooing Lord Lennox soon married Lady Margaret Douglas, daughter of Margaret Tudor and half-sister of the deceased King James V. When the Parliament of Scotland rejected the Greenwich treaty, Lennox changed sides and supported King Henry VIII of England's military efforts to secure a marriage between in the War of the Rough Wooing. After the defeat of his supporters at the Battle of Glasgow Muir, he fled once more to England.

Family TreeEdit

Historical Figure

Pages: Historical Events | Historical References | Historical Timeline |
Kings: King Antoine of Navarre | King Edward of England | King Henry II of France | King Henry VIII of England |
King James V of Scotland | King Francis I of France | King Francis II of France | King Charles IX of France |
King Philip II of Spain |
Queens: Queen Catherine of France | Queen Mary of Scotland | Queen Anne of England | Queen Elizabeth of England | Queen Jane of England | Queen Mary of England | Queen Jeanne of Navarre | Queen Elisabeth of Spain |
Princes: Prince of the Blood, Louis Condé | Price Don Carlos of Spain | Price Henry of France | Prince Henry de Bourbon | Duke Francis of France |
Princesses: Princess Claude of France | Catherine of Aragon | Princess Catherine de Bourbon |
Lords: Robert Dudley | William Cecil | Henry Darnley | Matthew Lennox |
Ladies: Amy Dudley | Mary Boleyn | Mary Fleming | Margaret Lennox |
Nobles: Diane de Poitiers | James Stuart | Marie de Guise |
Others: Nostradamus | John Knox | Pope Clement VII |

References Edit

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