Henry, Lord Darnley

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Lord Darnley (1545-67) and his younger brother Charles (1555-76) were the sons of Matthew Stewart, Earl of Lennox, and Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox, a granddaughter of Henry VII and niece of Henry VIII. The Countess probably commissioned this double portrait in 1562, at around the time of Lord Darnley’s seventeenth birthday. Being of royal blood, the handsome Darnley was considered a very suitable consort for the recently widowed Mary, Queen of Scots, and they were married at Holyrood Chapel in 1565. Almost from the start, the marriage was turbulent and Darnley’s involvement in the murder of Mary’s close confidant and musician, David Rizzio, sealed their unhappiness.


Darnley was murdered in mysterious circumstances in 1567. He is buried in the vaults of the Royal Chapel at Holyrood. The greatest legacy of this brief marriage was their son James, who was later crowned James VI and I, uniting the crowns of England and Scotland in 1603.

The two brothers, dressed in black, are depicted standing by a table in a wood panelled room. Lord Darnley, with a watch around his neck and holding gloves in his left hand, rests his right hand on the shoulder of his younger brother, Charles, who holds a cap in his left hand. Like most Tudor and Jacobean portraiture, the painting focuses on the attire, jewellery and heraldry that indicate the wealth and high status of the sitters. This portrait was commissioned with an eye to posterity and ancestral pride.


Falkland Palace Window

Lord Darnley, historically known as Henry Stuart, was the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. Falkland Palace holds significance in their story as it was one of their favored residences. Located in Fife, Scotland, Falkland Palace served as a retreat for the royal couple. The palace features stunning architecture, beautiful gardens, and was a place of recreation for the Scottish royals during the 16th century.


All of the stained glass windows at Falkland are heraldic and late 19th century. They were commissioned by John Patrick Crichton- Stuart, the Third Marquess of Bute. The Chapel and Tapestry Gallery windows were commissioned in 1893 and installed in 1894, with the windows in the office and private apartments installed a little later in 1897. Bute also renovated the rest of the palace and completely rebuilt the Cross-House.  The carved window shutters and door in the Keeper’s Dressing room of his children and a portrait of himself are of particular note.


Although Lord Bute was very keen to make sure the windows were historically accurate, in this window the eagle-eyed will have noted that Lord Darnley was 'King Consort', not 'King'.



Sources for this article include:
  • Falkland Palace

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    Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024