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Posthumous portrait of Mary Queen of Scots

The chambers at Holyrood are filled with items associated with Mary

Attributed to British School, 17th century

Portrait of a Man known as David Rizzio c.1620

Oil on canvas | 70.8 x 56.6 x 1.6 cm | RCIN 401172

Mary, Queen of Scots' Outer Chamber, Palace of Holyroodhouse

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The Italian David Rizzio arrived in Scotland in 1561 with the ambassador from Savoy. He first entered the service of Mary, Queen of Scots as a musician and later became her secretary and close companion.

On the night of 9 March 1566 he was brutally murdered in Mary's private apartments at Holyroodhouse. The murderers were led by Lord Darnley, the queen's second husband, who was jealous of Rizzio's influence over Mary. Darnley led the conspirators from his apartments on the first floor and up the private staircase to the Queen's Bedchamber. They rushed in upon the queen, her ladies and Rizzio who were in the tiny Supper Room, off the Bedchamber. Despite clinging to the queen's skirts, Rizzio was dragged to the adjoining Outer Chamber, stabbed 56 times and left to die.