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James Stewart

James Stewart Earl of Moray

Famous for being illegitimate son of James V and chief advisor to Mary Queen of Scots

Born - 1531 exact date unknown, Scotland

Parents - King James V of Scotland, Margaret Erskine

Siblings - None

Married - No

Children - None

Died - 23rd January 1570, Linlithgow, Scotland - assassinated


James Stewart was born illegitimately in 1531. His father was King James V of Scotland, his mother was Margaret Erskine, daughter of the 4th Earl of Mar.

In 1542 James V was killed at the Battle of Solway Moss and his only surviving child, Mary, who was six days old, became Queen Mary of Scots. Scotland was ruled by a regency while Mary was still a child.

Mary Queen of Scots was sent to France at the age of 5 years and married the Dauphin of France, Francois, in 1558. The young couple became King and Queen of France in July 1559. 

In August 1561, Mary returned to Scotland and James Stewart became her chief advisor. He was given the title Earl of Moray by his half-sister in 1562.

The new Earl of Moray strongly opposed Mary's marriage to Lord Darnley and attempted to raise an army to stop the marriage, however he was unable to raise sufficient troops and was forced to flee to England.

After Mary's secretary, David Rizzio was murdered, she decided to forgive her half-brother and allow him to return to Scotland, completely unaware that James Stewart had been part of the conspiracy that authorised the murder of Rizzio.

James Stewart was not in Scotland when Mary's husband was assassinated in 1567 and remained absent when Mary proceeded to marry the man thought to have been responsible for Darnley's murder. Mary had little support in Scotland and in July 1567 she abdicated the throne of Scotland and James Stewart, Earl of Moray became regent for Mary's infant son, James VI.

In 1568 an army of Mary's supporters attempted to regain the throne for her but they were beaten by Moray's army and Mary fled to England to seek the protection of her cousin Elizabeth.

On 23rd January 1570 James Stewart, Earl of Moray was assassinated by James Hamilton, a strong supporter of Mary.

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