Mary needed to find the right husband to allow her to rule effectively:
However, a foreigner could result in Scotland becoming a puppet in European affairs. Carlos, son of King Philip II of Spain was an option, although this would rule out unity with England as he was opposed to Protestant Elizabeth I:
These were the three main choices that Mary had in the early 1560s.
The suggestion of Don Carlos of Spain was highly controversial on the basis that Spain was an enemy of England.
In 1563, an accident left Don Carlos both physically and mentally unfit and negotiations of a marriage contract were cancelled.
Mary’s chance of being named as heir to the English throne would improve if she married an Englishman.
Elizabeth proposed Lord Robert Dudley whom she believed could be entrusted to advance English interests in Scotland.
However, neither Mary nor Dudley (who was involved in an affair with Elizabeth) desired the match.
Henry Stewart was proposed as suitor. Born in England into the Catholic Lennox family he was grandson of Margaret Tudor (Henry VIII’s sister) and son of the Earl of Lennox.
Mary may have thought that Darnley would help her secure the English succession and perhaps even help her restore Catholicism to Scotland.
Elizabeth was unlikely to have approved such a marriage:
Mary decided on Henry Stuart. In May 1565, Mary sought permission to marry Darnley and on 15 May, this was granted by a meeting of the nobility. Mary and Lord Darnley met in February 1565 at Wemyss Castle in Fife and were married at Holyrood Palace in July 1565: