Marriage to Darnley

In 1565 Mary married Henry, Lord Darnley. He was Mary's second husband. He was described as the "best-proportioned long man". This mattered to Mary. As she herself was very tall, she needed an even taller man to be her dancing partner. They made an attractive couple when they were dancing together.

Darnley might have been a good dancer but he was also a proud, rude and lazy man who liked to have his own way. Darnley was crowned King of Scotland but it was Mary who had the real power.

Mary became pregnant at 22 years of age. Darnley was only 19.

Murder of Riccio

One man Mary really trusted was her Italian secretary, David Riccio. She grew very fond of him and always listened to his advice. In the evenings, they would talk, sing and play cards. Darnley became very jealous of the time Mary spent with Riccio. More details.

When Mary was 6 months pregnant, she had a party with friends in the private rooms of Holyrood Palace. Darnley charged in with Lord Ruthven and demanded to see Riccio. Riccio begged Mary to save him but he was dragged out, murdered and thrown down the stairs. There were over fifty stab wounds found on his body. Someone really wanted to make sure he was dead!

The conspirators then locked Mary away in a room so that when her baby was born, they could rule Scotland.

Mary persuaded her husband to help her escape to Dunbar Castle, over 50km away. There she gathered her troops together and marched them back into Edinburgh to defeat the traitors and murderers, but some managed to flee to England in hope of protection.

Birthroom of James VI

Mary's baby was born on 19th June 1566, and he was called James. He was born in Edinburgh Castle. Darnley threatened to emigrate to France and while he stayed at Kirk O'Field on the Royal Mile, Mary visited him several times.




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