1545 (7th December)
Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, was born to Matthew Stewart, Earl of Lennox and Margaret Douglas
, daughter of Henry VIII
‘s sister, Margaret
at Temple Newsam, Yorkshire. He was given the anglicised name Stuart rather than his father’s Scottish Stewart because he was born in England. He was styled Lord Darnley, the title by which he is best remembered.
Henry’s brother, Charles, was born to Matthew Stuart and Margaret Douglas.
1558 (17th November)
Elizabeth, the Protestant daughter of Henry VIII became Queen Elizabeth I
after her half-sister, Mary
, died. Many Catholics believed that Mary Queen of Scots was the rightful Queen of England and Scotland. Henry’s mother, Margaret was second in line to the Scottish and English thrones and Henry third.
1560 (5th December)
Mary Queen of Scots’s
husband, King Francis II of France, died. Mary did not want to remain in France where the court was dominated by her mother-in-law, Catherine de Medici, who was now regent for the young King Charles IX, so decided to return to Scotland.
Henry’s mother, Margaret Douglas sent him and his tutor, John Elder, to France so that Henry could pay his respects to Mary for the loss of her husband.
1565 (3rd February)
Darnley left London to travel north to Scotland where he was going to go to the Scottish court. Mary Queen of Scots had returned from France and he hoped to find favour with her.
1565 (12th February)
Darnley reached Edinburgh in Scotland.
1565 (17th February)
Darnley presented himself to Mary at Wemyss Castle in Fife. He made a great impression on Mary who decided that she would marry him.
1565 (after 17th February)
Darnley went to visit his father at Dunkeld, Scotland before returning to the Scottish court.
1565 (24th February)
Darnley travelled with Mary and the court to Holyrood.
1565 (15th May)
Darnley was created Lord of Ardmanoch and Earl of Ross in a ceremony held at Stirling Castle.
1565 (4th June)
Queen Elizabeth I and her Privy council were alarmed by Mary’s intention to marry Darnley fearing that it would strengthen both of their claims to the English throne. Elizabeth demanded that Darnley return to England.
1565 (22nd July)
Darnley was created Duke of Albany at Holyrood Abbey.
1565 (28th July)
It was proclaimed that after her marriage the rule of Scotland would be headed by the King and Queen of the Scots. This showed that it was Mary’s intention to give Darnley the rights of a King.
1565 (29th July)
Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley married his cousin, Mary Queen of Scots in the Chapel Royal of Holyrood House.
1565 (30th July)
Mary’s announcement that her husband would be King of Scotland had not gone down well with her ministers. They had not given consent for Darnley to be King and were furious with Mary.
1565 (26th August)
Mary’s half-brother, James Stuart, Earl of Moray, was not happy with Mary’s marriage to her Catholic cousin and the fact that Mary had given him the status of a King. He raised a rebellion against her but Mary managed to put the rebellion down.
Mary’s half-brother, James Stuart, Earl of Moray, left Scotland and sought refuge in England.
Mary became pregnant.
1565 (late October)
Darnley had hoped that Mary would grant him the right to inherit the Scottish throne if she died without an heir (the Crown Matrimonial). When she refused he became angry, something that happened whenever he did not get his own way.
Mary was very unhappy in her marriage. She had quickly realised that Darnley was a lazy womaniser with a violent streak which was much worse when he drank too much. She began to spend more time with her Italian secretary David Rizzio.
Darnley was angry that Mary spent time with Rizzio and raised concerns with the Protestant lords in Scotland that they may be planning to re-introduce Catholicism to Scotland.
1566 (9th March)
A number of Protestant lords entered Mary’s apartments at Holyrood Palace and murdered Rizzio in front of her. The Earl of Morton and Lord Ruthven, who had both been with Mary at the time of the murder fled to England.
1566 (after 9th March)
Darnley hoped that the murder of Rizzio would force Mary to grant him the Crown Matrimonial. Mary did not relent and, six months pregnant, removed herself from her husband and took up residence in Edinburgh Castle.
1566 (20th March)
Darnley made a public declaration denying any part in the murder of Rizzio.
1566 (27th March)
The Earl of Morton and Lord Ruthven wrote to Elizabeth I’s minister Robert Cecil, stating that Darnley had been responsible for the murder of Rizzio.
1566 (19th June)
Mary gave birth to a son, James Charles
, at Edinburgh Castle. He would later become King James I after the death of Elizabeth I in 1603.
Mary was determined to divorce her husband Lord Darnley.
Mary was taken very ill and at one point was thought to be dying but she recovered.
Mary had become close to James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, who promised to help her be free of Darnley.
1566 (17th December)
Darnley’s son, James, was christened at Stirling Castle. His godparents were Charles IX of France, Elizabeth I of England and the Duke of Savoy.
Darnley, who had been taken ill with a fever, feared for his life and went to stay with his father in Glasgow.
Darnley returned to Edinburgh after Mary requested his return. He moved into a house at Kirk o’ Field where Mary visited him regularly.
1567 (9th February)
Darnley was visited by Mary. She then left to attend a wedding celebration.
1567 (10th February)
At around 2am Darnley’s house at Kirk o’ Field was blown up. Darnley was found in the grounds of the property and it appeared he had been strangled. It was believed that Bothwell was behind the murder but Mary was also incriminated.
1567 (after 10th February)
Darnley was buried in the Royal vault of Abbey Church, Holyrood, Scotland.