David Riccio (or Rizzio) was born in 1533 near Turin in Italy.
He came from a musical family and was a talented musician himself. A portrait of him in the National Gallery of Scotland shows him playing the lute. No doubt he spent many hours singing and playing to Mary, who loved music.
Mary promoted Riccio to become her personal secretary. Some think she did this, not because he could write her letters, but because Riccio was one of the few close friends that Mary could trust. She could confide in him at a time when she had many enemies and he could be trusted not to tell anyone.
Riccio was involved in helping to arrange Mary's marriage to Darnley in 1565, and he stayed on as her advisor afterwards.
Some think that Darnley became jealous of Riccio. Certainly the Scottish Lords who wanted rid of Mary disliked him. They thought he was over pleased with himself, too arrogant, and much too close to the Queen.
They decided that Riccio had to be murdered as the first part of a plan to get rid of Mary. They did not want a Catholic Queen.
Riccio was cruelly murdered one evening when he was at supper with Mary and some friends in Holyrood House. Darnley, with a group of Scottish noblemen and other armed men burst in. Mary was horrified. She begged for Riccio's life to be spared but instead she had to hear him die. Riccio was dragged outside and stabbed over and over again - more than 50 times.
Riccio's life ended on March 9th 1566 in Edinburgh.
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