On this day 1566: The murder of David Rizzio

On 9th March 1566, David Rizzio, Mary, Queen of Scots’ private secretary, is murdered in front of her at the Palace of Holyroodhouse by a group of nobles led by the Queens husband, Lord Darnley and Patrick Ruthven, 3rd Lord Ruthven. 

With the Catholic Mary on the throne, the Protestant Lords of Scotland were becoming increasingly concerned that their reformation would be put in danger. The Catholic David Rizzio, a musician from Italy, and now private secretary to Mary, was a focus of concern, with some claiming he was a Papal spy.

The lords accused Rizzio of being the father of the child that Mary was carrying in an effort to gain the support of Mary’s husband, Lord Darnley.

A number of the lords involved had been in rebellion against Mary the previous year, with some due to be tried for treason, and it seems likely that the accusation against Rizzio was an excuse to get rid of him and stage a coup.

It is said that Mary was held at gunpoint as Rizzio was stabbed 56 times. The coup attempt that followed failed when Mary escapes to Dunbar, helped by Lord Darnley, after he has second thoughts.

 

Further Reading:

Mary, Queen of Scots: A Study in Failure, (2017), Jenny Wormald Buy from Amazon

My Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots, (2004), John Guy – Buy from Amazon

Mary Queen of Scots Downfall: The Life and Murder of Henry, Lord Darnley, (2017), Robert Stedall – Buy from Amazon

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