A portrait of a young Henry, Lord Darnley, the hated second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots and the father of her only child, James I of England
On 10 February 1567, the bodies of Henry and his servant at the time were discovered in the orchard of Kirk o’ Field, Edinburgh, where they had been staying. Surrounding Henry and his servant was a cloak, a dagger, a chair and a coat. Henry was dressed only in his nightshirt, suggesting he had fled in some haste from his bedchamber. A violent explosion had occurred that night at the house, but evidence pointed to Henry escaping assassination, only to be murdered when he got outside. There was no sign of stab wounds, gun wounds, bruises or strangulation marks on the body. It is most likely that Henry and his servant were suffocated, There was evidence that Henry and his valet had been strangled and that the explosion was set as an attempt to cover up the murders.
A soldier under the pay of the Earl, William Blackadder was allegedly the first non-participant to happen upon the scene and for that reason was initially treated as a suspect. Although initially cleared of any involvement in the murder, he was offered up by the conspirators and convicted at a show trial, after which he was executed by being hanged, drawn and quartered before each of his limbs was nailed to the gates of a different Scottish town.
James Hepburn 4th Earl of Bothwell who became Mary’s third husband, as well as Mary herself were among those who also came under suspicion for the murder.
Bothwell… didn’t just “become” Mary’s husband. He abducted and raped her.