Mary, Queen of Scots (7/8 December 1542 – 8 February 1587), also known as Mary Stuart or Mary I of Scotland, was queen regnant of Scotland from 14 December 1542 to 24 July 1567 and queen consort of France from 10 July 1559 to 5 December 1560.Mary, the only surviving legitimate child of King James V of Scotland, was 6 days old when her father died and she acceded to the throne. She spent most of her childhood in France while Scotland was ruled by regents, and in 1558, she married the Dauphin of France, Francis. He ascended the French throne as King Francis II in 1559, and Mary briefly became queen consort of France, until his death on 5 December 1560. Widowed, Mary returned to Scotland, arriving in Leith on 19 August 1561. Four years later, she married her first cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, but their union was unhappy. In February 1567, his residence was destroyed by an explosion, and Darnley was found murdered in the garden.James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, was generally believed to have orchestrated Darnley's death, but he was acquitted of the charge in April 1567, and the following month he married Mary. Following an uprising against the couple, Mary was imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle. On 24 July 1567, she was forced to abdicate in favour of James, her one-year-old son by Darnley. After an unsuccessful attempt to regain the throne, she fled southwards seeking the protection of her first cousin once removed, Queen Elizabeth I of England. Mary had previously claimed Elizabeth's throne as her own and was considered the legitimate sovereign of England by many English Catholics, including participants in a rebellion known as the Rising of the North. Perceiving her as a threat, Elizabeth had her confined in a number of castles and manor houses in the interior of England. After eighteen and a half years in custody, Mary was found guilty of plotting to assassinate Elizabeth, and was subsequently executed.
Henry Stewart or Stuart, 1st Duke of Albany (7 December 1545 – 10 February 1567), styled Lord Darnley before 1565, was king consort of Scotland from 1565 until his murder at Kirk o' Field in 1567. Many contemporary narratives describing his life and death refer to him as Lord Darnley, his title as heir apparent to the Earldom of Lennox, and it is by this appellation that he is now generally known.He was the second but eldest surviving son of Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox, and his wife, Lady Margaret Douglas. Darnley's maternal grandparents were Archibald Douglas, sixth Earl of Angus, and Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII of England, and widow of James IV, king of Scots. It is the common belief that Henry Stewart was born on 7 December, but this is disputed. He was a first cousin to and the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, and was the father of her son James VI of Scotland, who succeeded Elizabeth I of England as James I of England.