David Rizzio

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David Rizzio (rĬt´sēō), 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. He came to the notice of Queen Mary and toward the end of 1564 became her secretary for French affairs. The trust that Mary placed in him, however, caused jealousy and hatred on the part of many great nobles. They persuaded Lord Darnley, Mary's husband, that Rizzio was Mary's lover. Then, in 1566, with Darnley's support, they broke into Mary's quarters in Holyrood Palace, seized Rizzio in the queen's presence, and killed him. There is no proof or disproof of the charge that Mary was his mistress, but it is clear that his murder was only part of a larger campaign by Scottish nobles against Mary.

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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