They say a picture is worth a thousand words and this is surely true of this memorial which the Earl & Countess of Lennox commissioned after the murder of their eldest son Henry, Lord Darnley.
He was the second husband of Mary Queen of Scots and in the early hours of 9 February 1567 the house in which he was convalescing was blown up. Although the blast failed to kill him, he was found together with his servant strangled in a garden near by. If anyone was in any doubt as to who the family believed was responsible, a closer look at the painting will clear them up.
Piously kneeling in prayer at the side of the tomb are the Earl & Countess of Lennox together with their younger son Charles Stuart. The small boy in the middle is the now fatherless Prince James praying to Christ for the salvation of his murdered father’s soul.
Darnley’s tomb itself is screaming out with symbolism. The two round reliefs show firstly Darnley and his servant being dragged from their beds and the second their lifeless murdered corpses. Notice the saltire above the tomb is not the normal blue, but is red to signify the blood of their innocent son.
Significantly the only visual reference of Darnley’s wife, Mary Queen of Scots is the inset picture on the bottom left, which is a combination of Mary’s defeat at Carberry Hill and the cowardly escape of her new husband, chief suspect and beneficiary of the murder, the Earl of Bothwell.
Anyone still in any doubt who the Lennox family blamed for the death of their son?
Pictures via Wikicommons