The Tudor Society
The Tudor Society

7 December 1545 – Lord Darnley’s birth

Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley

Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley

As today is the traditional date given for the birth of Henry Stewart (Stuart), Duke of Albany and Lord Darnley, I thought I'd share this excerpt from On This Day in Tudor History.

Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, was the son of Matthew Stewart, 13th or 4th Earl of Lennox, and Lady Margaret Douglas, and the grandson of Margaret Tudor and her second husband Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus. He was born at Temple Newsam, Yorkshire, not long after the death of his older brother, also called Henry. Darnley is known for being the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots and for being murdered on 10th February 1567.

Here is some trivia about Darnley:

  • He had claims to both the Scottish and English thrones, being descended from James II of Scotland and Henry VII of England.
  • His grandmother, Margaret Tudor, was Henry VII's eldest daughter.
  • His father was declared a traitor after he had taken part in the War of the Rough Wooing between England and Scotland.
  • Darnley suffered from an attack of measles in April 1565.
  • He was created Knight of Tarbolton, Lord Ardmannoch, and Earl of Ross in May 1565, and swore his allegiance to Mary, Queen of Scots.
  • On the 22nd July 1565, he was made Duke of Albany in anticipation of his marriage to Mary.
  • Darnley married Mary, Queen of Scots on 29th July 1565, and was proclaimed "King Henry" the following day, although Mary refused to grant him the crown matrimonial.
  • It was not a happy marriage, and the couple were estranged by Christmas 1565, even though Mary was pregnant by then.
  • Mary's private secretary David Rizzio (Riccio) was stabbed to death by a gang of assassins, who Darnley let into the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
  • His son, the future James VI and I, was born on 19th June 1566.

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7 December 1545 – Lord Darnley’s birth