Tuesday, March 9, 2010

David Rizzio

"...a cunning harper that could harp the heart out of woman's breast, as they say Signer David Rizzio did to our poor Queen..."

The quote above is from "The Abbot", by Walter Scott.  The Abbot was set during the English Reformation, and the novel covers Mary, Queen of Scots interrment at Lochleven Castle.  Rizzio, in the quote, is David Rizzio.

David Rizzio was a music teacher from Turin, who through a turn of events, met Queen Mary of Scotland's musicians, and ultimately became one of Mary's valets, adding his bass voice to the voices of three others.  Rizzio grew in trust an influence with Mary, and was rewarded with the office of Secretary for relations with France.

Rizzio's rise drew jealous eyes, and rumors about an affair with Mary began to circulate.  On May 9, 1566, Rizzio was murdered by a force led by Patrick Ruthven in the Palace of Holyroodhouse.  Mary was present at the execution, seven months pregnant with the future James VI, and was herself threatened by the murderers.  Mary escaped the palace by tying bedsheets together, and exiting through a window.  She later returned to Edinburgh with troops, and arrested Ruthven's forces.

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