On this day 456 years ago, an infamous murder took place in the Palace of Holyroodhouse (now commonly known as Holyrood Palace). This murder greatly impacted Mary, Queen of Scots and her reign over Scotland.
As you all will soon learn, I, Jess, am infatuated with the life of Mary, Queen of Scots and she played a large part in us visiting the United Kingdom so it is only fitting that I share our visit to Holyrood Palace and the adjoining Holyrood Abbey today of all days.
Located at the bottom of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland, Holyrood Palace is the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland and has been since the 16th century. I was so stoked to see Mary, Queen of Scots’s historic chambers including her bedchamber, supper room, and outer chamber but most of all, I wanted to see the place where David Rizzio sadly died.
Mary Queen of Scots & David Rizzio
On the night of Saturday, March 9th in 1566, Mary and her private secretary were dining in her Supper Room. Mary’s second husband, Lord Darnley was extremely jealous of the relationship she held with Rizzio and decided to take matters into his own hands.
With a large group of powerful Scottish lords, Darnley entered into the room while they were dining and requested Lord Ruthven to hold down the heavily pregnant Mary while the lords hauled Rizzio from the room.
In the Outer Chamber, Rizzio was stabbed a total of 56 times while Mary was restrained and could do nothing. The final blow was given by Lord Darnley himself and they left Rizzio on the floor for all to see after retreating. This murder, as well as other shady deeds, is what drove a bigger wedge between Mary and Darnley. Not even a year later, Darnley was killed at Kirk o’ Field on February 10, 1567.
Inside Holyrood Palace
Unfortunately, pictures of the inside of the Palace are not allowed so everything lives in my memory but I do have a few of the outside which I’ve included throughout the post. I will say, there was so much more than I expected in the Palace. All of Mary’s items, to the blood stained floor where Rizzio died, to the throne room and the Great Gallery. Every bit of it was worth seeing.
In the back left of the Holyrood Palace you will find the Holyrood Abbey which now technically in ruins. The architecture of the abbey is absolutely STUNNING. You can only imagine what it looked like back in the 1100-1500’s when it was prized as one of the grandest medieval abbeys in Scotland.
Being founded in 1128, its no surprise that many parliaments, coronations, weddings and burials were held in the Abbey. To name a few; Lord Darnley, Robert the Bruce, Margaret Tudor, Mary of Guise, Anne of Denmark, and King James II.
The Holyrood Palace and Holyrood Abbey were an unexpected treasure that offered way more than meets the eye. If you are down to choosing Edinburgh Castle or these two locations, I would pick these two by far. There is so much beauty to see and feel that it would be too hard to pass up in my opinion.
Please note, if you are traveling to Scotland soon, Holyrood Abbey is currently closed due to covid restrictions but will hopefully be opening up again soon.
Plan on visiting The Royal Mile in Edinburgh soon?
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