Biography of Henry Stewart (Lord Darnley) - Archontology
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Henry Stewart (Lord Darnley)


b. 7 Dec 1545, Temple Newsam, Yorkshire, England
d. 10 Feb 1567, Edinburgh, Scotland [1]

Title: Dei gratia rex et regina Scotorum = By the grace of God, King and Queen of the Scots (joint style for Henricus et Maria = Henry and Mary)
Term: 29 Jul 1565 - 10 Feb 1567
Chronology: 28 Jul 1565, intended marriage proclaimed by a warrant under royal signature and Signet Manual ordering that after the marriage Henry Stewart should be styled King [2]
29 Jul 1565, accorded royal style upon marriage to Queen Mary I of Scotland
10 Feb 1567, died (assassination?)
Names/titles: Private name: Henry Stewart of Darnley; styled (by courtesy): Lord Darnley [from 7 Dec 1545]; Earl of Ross and Lord of Ardmannoch [15 May 1565 - 10 Feb 1567]; Duke of Albany [20 Jul 1565 - 10 Feb 1567]
Son of Matthew Stewart, Earl of Lennox, and Margaret Douglas, niece of King Henry VIII of England; was brought up in England and tutored by John Elder and Arthur Lallart; his high position in the succession to the English and Scottish thrones was impressed upon him at an early age by his ambitious parents; was sent to France (1559) secretly to visit Queen Mary I (Mary Stuart); attended the coronation of King François II of France at Mary's invitation (returned to England Oct 1559); visited France after the death of François II (5 Dec 1560) to present himself to Mary as a potential suitor; acknowledged as a significant possibility as King Consort of Scotland (Feb 1561); fled to relatives in France (1562) when Queen Elizabeth I of England expressed her displeasure at the suit; Elizabeth compiles 14 articles against Lord and Lady Lennox (7 May 1562), arrests and imprisons Lord Lennox and confines Lady Lennox to house arrest (10 May 1562); returned to England (1563) on Elizabeth's promise to consider him as an heir; attended at court until departing for Scotland (3 Feb 1565, arrived in Edinburgh 12 Feb 1565); met Mary's court at Weymess Castle, Fife (17 Feb 1565); rumours of a secret marriage with Mary reach English court (Apr 1565); was created Earl of Ross and Lord of Ardmannoch (15 May 1565) and renounced English citizenship by swearing allegiance to Mary; created Duke of Albany (20 Jul 1565); Mary issued royal warrant (28 Jul 1565) announcing intention to marry and styling him King upon marriage (not recognized by Elizabeth); official marriage performed 29 Jul 1565 at Holyrood Castle (the banns published 21 Jul 1565); proclamation issued 30 Jul 1565 was signed by the King and Queen giving King precedence; papal dispensation issued 25 Sep 1565 (backdated to 25 May 1565); signed a bond (1 Mar 1566) taking responsibility for the plot to murder David Rizzio, Mary's secretary; conspired to murder Rizzio in Mary's private chambers at Holyrood (9 Mar 1566); took control of Mary's person with the assistance of Lords Moray, Rothes, Ruthven, and Lennox; betrayed fellow conspirators and fled with Mary to Dunbar; announced intention to leave Scotland (Sep 1566) but was persuaded to return by French ambassador; visited Mary at Jedburgh (28 Oct 1566), withdrew to Stirling and refused to attend the baptism (17 Dec 1566) of his son, James (future James VI of Scotland); moved to Kirk o' Field, Edinburgh (31 Jan 1567), hoping for a reconciliation with Mary; died under mysterious circumstances (10 Feb 1567).
Biographical sources: The Calendar of State Papers Domestic (England): Reigns of Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I (vols. XXIII-XLIII); The Calendar of State Papers (Scotland) (vols. I & II); The Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs (vol. VIII); "The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, & the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct, or Dormant" (Gloucester: Alan Sutton Publishing, rep. 2000), 11: 82.

[1] The bodies of King Henry and his servant were discovered in the garden of Kirk o' Field after an explosion which completely destroyed the king's residence, Old Provost's Lodging, at about 02:00 10 Feb 1567. Both men were presumed to have been strangled and there was no evidence of burning or damage from the blast on either body. See Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, 3 (no. 19): 'murdered 10th Feb. last'; "A Diurnal of Remarkable Occurents that have Passed within the Country of Scotland since the Death of King James the Fourth till the year M.D.LXXV." (Edinburgh, 1833), 105, 106: '2 a.m. 10 Feb.'
[2] Facsimiles of National Manuscripts of England, 3, No. XLVIII.