In choosing to wed Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, Mary was accused of furthering her political ambitions. English-born Darnley was her first cousin and, like her, the grandchild of Margaret Tudor. Indeed, Elizabeth was unhappy about the marriage: she recognised that any offspring would have a strong claim to the English throne. But Mary was reportedly ‘bewitched’ by Darnley, describing him as the ‘lustiest and best proportioned lang man’; he was over six feet, one of few men taller than her. Mary was 22, and Darnley just 19.
Palace of Holyroodhouse Mary Queen of Scots married Lord Darnley by Roman Catholic rites in Mary’s private chapel at Holyrood, after which Darnley left Mary to hear the nuptial mass alone.
National Museum of Scotland Look at the rare silver coin, minted in Edinburgh in 1565 and known as the marriage ryal, which bears an inscription that begins with Henry’s name rather than Mary, who should have first place as Queen Regnant. Given his dynastic ambitions there is some speculation that Darnley may have had a hand in this. These coins were quickly withdrawn from circulation.
Wemyss Castle This Fife castle is where Mary and Darnley met for the first time as adults, in February 1565.
Huntingtower Castle This location was a resting place for Mary during the Chaseabout Raid of August 1565, when her forces suppressed a rebellion over her marriage to Darnley.