Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley Biography

Henry Stuart, Duke of Albany, also known as Lord Darnley, was the second husband and cousin of Mary, Queen of Scots. Check out this biography to know about his childhood, family, personal life, and timeline.

Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley
Quick Facts

Birthday: December 7, 1545

Nationality: British

Famous: British Men British Historical Personalities

Died At Age: 21

Sun Sign: Sagittarius

Also Known As: Henry Stuart, Duke of Albany

Born Country: England

Born in: Temple Newsam, Yorkshire, England

Famous as: King Consort of Scotland (1565-1567)

Family:

Spouse/Ex-: Mary, Queen of Scots (m. 1565)

father: Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox

mother: Lady Margaret Douglas

children: James VI and I

Died on: February 10, 1567

place of death: Kirk o' Field, Edinburgh, Scotland

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Henry Stuart, Duke of Albany, also known as Lord Darnley, was the second husband and cousin of Mary Queen of Scots. He charmed her with his good looks and great manners. However, after they were married, he revealed his true nature. He was an aggressive and unpleasant individual and also had alcohol issues. The negative opinion about Lord Darnley was general, so it was not a surprise that he ended up being murdered. In fact, some believed the Queen had been aware of the murder plans and that the murder was carried out by the man who later became her next husband.

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Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley
Childhood & Early Life
  • Henry Stuart was born on December 7, 1545, in Leeds, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, to Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox, and Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox. However, later evidence suggested he was probably born in 1546.
  • He received a fine education and was fully aware of his social status. He learned Latin, Gaelic, English, and French and was an excellent singer, dancer, and lute player. He also became good at horseback riding and hunting and had a passion for hawks and weapons.
  • Matthew Stewart had chosen the English side in the War of the Rough Wooing and was considered a traitor of Scotland. Thus, he lost his fortune and was exiled for 22 years.
  • On his mother’s side, Henry was related to the English king Henry VII and Margaret Tudor, while on his father’s side, he was connected to James II of Scotland. His potential marriage to his cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, was his mother’s dream since his childhood. She even sent him to meet her in France when Mary was already a widow, but they were attracted to each other much later, when Mary helped him recover from measles.
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Career
  • Although, by blood, he had the right to the throne, Lord Darnley’s main accomplishment was becoming King Consort of Scotland by marrying Mary, Queen of Scots. However, before that, he was made the Lord of Ardmanoch and the Earl of Ross in 1565. Later, he was also made the Duke of Albany. He met Mary at the ‘Wemyss Castle’ in Fife, and she immediately took notice of him. He was tall and attractive, and as the Queen was a tall woman herself, he definitely stood out amidst the short and unappealing men who surrounded her at the court. He was also well-educated and refined and could continue conversations that raised her interest. He was of noble descent and a Catholic, all reasons to be considered suitable to marry the Queen. Despite his reputation of being arrogant and selfish and not at all popular in the high society, Mary chose him as her husband. The wedding took place at the ‘Chapel of the Holyrood Palace,’ on July 19, 1565. They were married according to Roman Catholic tradition, but Henry, being influenced by Protestantism, chose not to take part in the nuptial mass that followed the wedding.
  • It did not take the Queen long to realize that her new husband was not the man she thought he was. His mean character came to light, along with his obsession to receive the “Crown Matrimonial,” which would have made him the heir to the throne if the Queen did not have a child before she died. Mary refused. One month after the wedding, she discovered she was going to have a baby. The tension in the family only increased, as Henry became more brutal even though his wife was pregnant and needed a peaceful environment.
  • The Queen needed someone to turn to and chose her private secretary, Rizzio. This immediately raised suspicions from the King, who considered him a threat. Together with a group of nobles, he decided to kill Rizzio. The murder was shocking, not only because they stabbed him many times but also because it happened in front of the pregnant and shocked Queen Mary. There were voices that claimed that they let her see it on purpose, hoping that she would lose the baby. Rumors also suggested that Rizzio was the father of the baby.
  • This was Lord Darnley’s desperate way to force the Queen’s hand. He also made a deal with the noble Protestants to have them sustain his claim to the “Crown Matrimonial” in front of the parliament. He agreed to give them back their lands and titles in exchange for this. Although Henry later made a declaration saying he had nothing to do with the murder, the Queen had already lost all faith in him.
  • Apparently, the plot was even bigger. The purpose was a coup against the Queen. However, Mary proved to be smarter than her husband and turned him and the nobles against each other, managing to escape and get to a safe place. A few months later, their son was born, and he would later become James VI of Scotland and I of England. Being forced by the Queen to publicly admit he was the father of the child, Lord Darnley refused to take part in the christening ceremony of the baby.
  • He continued trying to obtain the “Crown Matrimonial,” although there was no chance for him to get it at that point. His behavior became too critical, and he even lost supporters. On February 9, 1567, 8 months after his son was born, he was murdered in Edinburgh. He had been staying at Kirk o’Field, trying to recover from smallpox (or syphilis, as rumors claimed), when he was driven out of his room by two explosions in the middle of the night. He was found smothered outside the house.
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Family & Personal Life
  • Lord Darnley had only one child and seven grandchildren, three of whom lived past their childhood.
  • His death remained a mystery, although it was suspected that the Queen and her next husband, the Earl of Bothwell, had plotted it. Darnley was buried in the ‘Royal Vault’ in Holyrood Abbey, near several other royal figures.
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How To Cite

Article Title
- Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley Biography
Author
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
Website
- TheFamousPeople.com
URL
https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/henry-stuart-lord-darnley-45880.php
Last Updated
- July 30, 2019

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