Murray, James Stuart, 1st earl of

Murray or Moray, James Stuart, 1st earl of

(both: mûr`ē), 1531?–1570, Scottish nobleman. An illegitimate son of James V by a daughter of the earl of Mar, he was, therefore, half-brother of Mary Queen of ScotsMary Queen of Scots
(Mary Stuart), 1542–87, only child of James V of Scotland and Mary of Guise. Through her grandmother Margaret Tudor, Mary had the strongest claim to the throne of England after the children of Henry VIII.
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. Early a Protestant sympathizer, he joined the lords of the congregation in 1559 and was a leader of the opposition to the regent, Mary of GuiseMary of Guise
, 1515–60, queen consort of James V of Scotland and regent for her daughter, Mary Queen of Scots. The daughter of Claude de Lorraine, duc de Guise, she was also known as Mary of Lorraine.
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. After the return to Scotland of the young queen Mary (1561), he was her adviser, always favoring friendship with England and advocating religious reform. He opposed Mary's marriage (1565) to Lord DarnleyDarnley, Henry Stuart or Stewart, Lord,
1545–67, second husband of Mary Queen of Scots and father of James I of England (James VI of Scotland).
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 and, after an abortive rebellion, fled to England. He returned (1566) immediately after the murder of David RizzioRizzio, David
, 1533?–1566, favorite of Mary Queen of Scots. He was a Piedmontese musician (also called Riccio) who arrived (1561) in Scotland with the ambassador from Savoy.
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 and was reconciled with Mary, who did not know that he had been involved in the murder conspiracy. When Mary was forced to abdicate in 1567, Murray was the only feasible candidate for regent. He made every effort to perpetuate Mary's incarceration and worked in the interests of the young king James VI, the English, and Protestantism. He was assassinated by a member of the Hamilton family. With John Knox, who wrote a panegyric on him, Murray was largely responsible for the success of the Scottish Reformation.


See biography by M. Lee (1953, repr. 1971).

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