Moray, James Stewart, Earl of,


Second eldest illegitimate son of James V, half brother of Queen Mary. Appointed commendator of the priory of St Andrews 1538. Educated by George Buchanan from 1537, then at St Andrews from 1545. Significant embassies abroad 1548. Betrothed in marriage to the daughter of the 3rd Earl of Buchan, in order to gain lands, but did not marry her. Part of the expedition to France with Mary of Guise 1550. Clear signs of his protestantism appear 1555. One of those who invited John Knox to Scotland, 1556. Led a raid into England 1557. Chosen as one of the commissioners to attend Mary's wedding to the dauphin and negotiate the marriage treaty. Four of his fellow commissioners were later poisoned, which James apparently avoided by being held upside down by his boots to shake the poison out. After his experiences in France, he was no longer allied with Mary of Guise, and declared for the lords of the congregation 1559. Quickly established as one of the congregation's leaders. Selected as ambassador to Mary 1561, travelled to France again. Proposed the plan that meant Mary's successful return to Scotland, with William Maitland and James as advisers and a recognition of the religious status quo. Created Earl of Moray and Lord Abernethy 1561/2. Created Earl of Mar 1561/2, resigned a few months later. Married Annas Keith, daughter of William Keith, 3rd Earl Marischal, 1562. Benefited 1562 from the fall of the earl of Huntly and the falling fortunes of the Hamiltons and the earl of Bothwell. Loyally supported Mary til 1565, when he refused to give consent to her marriage to Lord Darnley. Attempted a coup which was met with little enthusiasm, attempted to get help from England but was publicly remonstrated by Elizabeth I. Returned to Scotland March 1566, the day after the murder of David Riccio. After the fallout from this, Stewart returned to Mary's favour. Present at the conference at Craigmillar where the plot to murder Lord Darnley was hatched, unlikely that Stewart was unaware of it. Conspicuously left the country during the turmoil from April to August 1567. Became regent of Scotland 22 August 1567 and continued til his death, his regency being filled with "desperate political struggles and decisions that were immensely significant for Scottish polity". Attended conferences at York and Westminster between October 1568 and January 1569 which ended with Mary captive in England and recognition of Moray's government. Assassinated in Linlithgow, January 1570.

Biography Date: 1531/2-70

Biography References: LOC; CERL; DNB; ESL 147; Drummond 308;

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