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Mary Queen of Scots’ Downfall (Hardback)

The Life and Murder of Henry Lord Darnley

Military > Biographies P&S History > British History > Tudors & Stuarts P&S History > Royal History P&S History > Social History P&S History > True Crime Women of History

By Robert Stedall
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 330
ISBN: 9781473893313
Published: 6th November 2017


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In the early hours of 10 February 1567 a large explosion ripped through the Old Provost’s lodgings at Kirk o’ Field, Edinburgh, where Mary Queen of Scotland’s consort, Henry Lord Darnley, was staying. Darnley’s body was found with that of his valet in a neighbouring garden the next morning. The Queen’s husband had been suffocated and the ramifications for Mary and Scottish history would be far-reaching.

Lord Darnley cuts an infamous figure in Scottish and Tudor history. In life he proved a controversial character, and his murder at Kirk o’ Field in 1567 remains one of British history’s great, unsolved mysteries – establishing whether Mary was implicated has taxed historians ever since.

In this engaging and well-researched biography, Robert Stedall re-examines Darnley’s life and his murder. It is not to be missed; his investigation brings new light and compelling conclusions to a story surrounded by political betrayal, murder, falsified evidence and conspiracy.

This book was well written, definitely well-researched and contained a lot of extracts from various letters & documents, and provided helpful family trees as well as some interesting images I had never seen before, mainly of Henry. If you enjoy reading about Mary and want to educate yourself further on her relationship with her second husband, as well as giving yourself more of an understanding of her downfall, I highly recommend this book. It definitely cleared some things up for me and gave me a lot of new information to think about in relation to Mary.

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Life and Tea Blog

Full review-
A Writer's Blog

A Writer's Blog, July 2019

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Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, September 2018 – reviewed by Dean Jobb

Article: 'A new view of Mary Queen of Scots' as featured by

Chichester Observer (online), 14th August 2018 – words by Phil Hewitt

★★★★★ This is a brilliant book. I knew the story of Mary Queen of Scots; I knew the story of Darnley; of the succession struggles in both Scotland and England; yet I found this book utterly enthralling, and riveting. It reads like a pacey thriller, and is hugely absorbing in interest. Thoroughly researched, beautifully written, and a real find; this book is definitely recommended.

Read the complete review here.

Amazon, Keen Reader

Robert Stedall’s scholarly engagingly-narrated book on Lord Darnley, talented,controversial, flawed husband (briefly) of Mary Queen of Scots and father of James VI of Scotland and James I of England shines a light on a human drama and power struggle taking place on a much bigger geopolitical stage at a time of far-reaching change that still echoes today.

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Amazon, J B Wybrew

★★★★★ An indispensable book for anyone who is interested in Mary Queen of Scots!

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Amazon, Bettina Pecha

This is an absorbing historical murder mystery and Stedall, an author clearly immersed in his subject, has produced a well written, exhaustively researched account that is bound to become a classic.

Ripperologist, December 2017 – January 2018 – reviewed by Paul Begg

This is a very thick book filled with presumably years of research on a complex subject of power and status within royalty. It talks of aggressive tactics, bullying and taking children hostage to ensure the parents were loyal. These were not friendly people and the book certainly gives a vision of how appalling some of the personalities behaved.

With incredibly detailed genealogy and research undertaken by Stedall, to the point of becoming obsessive over evidence, it appears no detail, however trivial or intricate, has been ignored in the events surrounding the death of Lord Darnley.

For anyone even slightly interested in Royal history and all its celebrations and cover-ups, this book will be an added delight upon your bookshelf. A remarkable read and encased inside a binding well worth the asking price of £25.

Read the complete review online here.

SJ Banham, loveofbooks.co.uk

It's packed with information...

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GoodReads, Kristin Davison

★★★★★ An indispensable book for anyone who is interested in Mary Queen of Scots.

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Amazon - Bettina Pecha

A well researched book with lots of details, like maps, drawings, genealogical tables and pictures . This was the first book about Mary Queen of Scots I have read ( I should absolutely read more about Mary , Queen of Scots) . Sometimes it was difficult to get through , but it was obvious how much research had gone into the book. I enjoyed the analysed evidence on the murder of Lord Darnley and how the murder affected Mary and led ultimately to her downfall. Learned a lot of Mary, Queen of Scots and her second husband Henry Stewart, a person with a bad personality, arrogant, rude, violent, not so well liked ( no wonder).
Mary Queen of Scots Mary Queen of Scots’ Downfall: The Life and Murder of Henry, Lord Darnley was a very informative read.
The New Royalty World recommends this book, especially for people who are interested in Scottish history.

See the complete review here.

The New Royalty World

As reviewed and featured on Lil's Vintage World, YouTube Vlog!

Lil's Vintage World, YouTube

The book is beautifully written, with a copious bibliography of historical sources and arguments by modern historians.

Read the complete review here.

Britain Express, David Ross

★★★★ I have read a lot about Mary, Queen of Scots, but I did not know much about her second husband, Henry Stewart. This book gave me more details about Henry Stewart and his personality. He was a very arrogant individual. While he was not likeable, he still made an important impact on Mary, Queen of Scots life. The book is very well written, engaging, and comprehensible to the reader. I recommend this biography.

Lauralee, Amazon

As featured on the 'Scottish Bookshelf'

The Scots magazine, February 2018

About Robert Stedall

Throughout his adult life Robert Stedall has been fascinated by genealogy. He is the curator of the popular www.maryqueenofscots.net and author of The Challenge to the Crown and The Survival of the Crown, a ground-breaking two-volume history of Mary Queen of Scots and her son, James VI of Scotland. He has written Mary Queen of Scots’ DownfallThe Roots of Ireland’s Troubles and Elizabeth I’s Secret Lover for Pen and Sword.

Mary, Queen of Scots marries her cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley

29th July 1565

1565 Mary, Queen of Scots marries her cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. Lord Darnley cuts an infamous figure in Scottish and Tudor history. In life he proved a controversial character, and his murder at Kirk o’ Field in 1567 remains one of British history’s great, unsolved mysteries – establishing whether Mary was implicated has taxed historians ever since.

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Maitland was the most able politician and diplomat during the lifetime of Mary Queen of Scots. It was he who master-minded the Scottish Reformation by breaking the ‘Auld Alliance’ with France, which presaged Scotland’s lasting union with England. Although he gained English support to defeat French troops defending Mary’s Scottish throne, he backed her return to Scotland, as the widowed Queen of France. His attempts to gain recognition for her as heir to the English crown were thwarted by her determined adherence to Catholicism. After her re-marriage, he spearheaded the plotting to bring…

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