The Murder of Lord Darnley
A Tale of Two Murders
This is a tale of two murders.
The first murder that of David Rizzio, the Italian secretary of Queen Mary, has no mystery, since it was committed by a crowd of assassins before Mary's very eyes.
Imagine a sixteenth-century royal chamber, Mary and her secretary playing cards, a musician playing his lute softly in one corner of the room, candles ablaze, servants bringing and removing dishes of delicacies. Then, chaos. A group of men, armed with knives and swords, knocked over tables and pulled the almost dwarfish Rizzio from Queen Mary's skirts. They stabbed him repeatedly as his pregnant benefactor screamed in horror.
The second murder, that of Lord Darnley, Mary's second husband, is cloaked in mystery, and has at least half a dozen suspects. In terms of history and historians, it is an unsolved murder. This time the murder is preceded by a horrendous blast of explosives, with the building housing Lord Darnley collapsing in dust and rubble, but leaving the intended victim unmarked, as he lay dead in the adjacent courtyard.
Was history changed by these murders? Were they the undoing of the reign of Scotland's queen? Perhaps the destiny of England itself was altered.
The consequences were much more far-reaching than would first appear. The heart of the story begins with Mary returning from France, where she had spent her childhood.