The murder of Darnley 1567

Mary's son James who was born on 19 June 1566 in Edinburgh Castle. Despite this, the relationship between Mary and Lord Darnley deteriorated further over the next few years: He spent evenings out drinking and womanising; he avoided many royal occasions, including his own son’s christening.

In early 1597, Lord Darnley had become unwell – perhaps with smallpox - and on the night of 9 February 1567, stayed in the Provost’s lodgings at Kirk o’ Field in Edinburgh.

Mary had visited Lord Darnley on the day of his death, but left to attend a masque ball in Holyrood to celebrate the marriage of one of her ladies in waiting.

At two o’clock in the morning there was a massive explosion at Kirk o’ Field which was felt throughout the city.

The bodies of Darnley and a servant were found in a neighbouring garden the next morning. It seemed that they had run from the house in their nightwear.

They did not appear to have been victims of an explosion, but had been strangled.

Theories to who was responsible for the explosion and the murders are varied. Some suggest Darnley himself planted the gunpowder in order to kill Mary, while others claim it was those who felt betrayed by Darnley switching allegiances in the Riccio murder. Nobles who opposed Darnley’s position in Scotland may have been responsible. James Hepburn, the Earl of Bothwell was also suspected.