Rizzio, David

views updated Jun 27 2018

Rizzio, David (c.1533–66). Servant of Mary Stuart, brutally murdered in the presence of the pregnant queen by a group of conspirators including Mary's husband Darnley. Born in Turin, and arriving in Scotland in 1561 in the entourage of the Savoyard ambassador, Rizzio drew Mary's attention through his musicianship, but later acted as her secretary. Contemporary suggestions that he was a papal agent and the father of the queen's unborn child are palpably false. He was the victim of the protestant nobility's growing insecurity and Darnley's search for a scapegoat following the queen's refusal to grant him the crown matrimonial.

Roger A. Mason