Elizabeth Stuart, Countess of Lennox

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Elizabeth Cavendish
Countess of Lennox
Spouse(s) Charles Stuart, 1st Earl of Lennox
Father Sir William Cavendish
Mother Bess of Hardwick
Born 31 March 1555
Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, England
Died January 1582 (aged 26)

Elizabeth Cavendish, Countess of Lennox (31 March 1555 – January 1582) was the wife of Charles Stuart, 1st Earl of Lennox. She was the mother of Arbella Stuart, a close claimant to the English and Scottish thrones.


Elizabeth was born in Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, England on 31 March 1555, the daughter of Bess of Hardwick and her second husband Sir William Cavendish. Catherine Grey was one of her godmothers.[1] Bess was a Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth I and was one of the wealthiest women in England.[2] She would have a total of four husbands. Elizabeth had seven siblings, two of whom died in early infancy.

Marriage to the Earl of Lennox[edit]

In 1574 she was secretly married to Charles Stuart, 1st Earl of Lennox, the younger brother of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, and thus a claimant to the English throne. Both sets of parents incurred the wrath of Queen Elizabeth I for having arranged such a controversial marriage without her permission, and Elizabeth's mother and mother-in-law, Margaret Douglas, were both sent to the Tower of London.[3]

The following year 1575, Elizabeth gave birth to her only child, Arbella Stuart. Her husband died in 1576 of consumption.[4] Elizabeth herself died six years later in January 1582 at the age of twenty-six.[4][5] Her daughter Arbella, about seven years old at the time became the ward of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley. In 1611, Arbella was imprisoned in the Tower of London by King James I of England for having married William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset, another close claimant to the throne, without royal permission. Arbella died there on 25 September 1615. She did not have any children.


  1. ^ Lovell, Mary S. (2005). Bess of Hardwick, First Lady of Chatsworth. Little, Brown. p. 92. 
  2. ^ Fraser, pp.474-475
  3. ^ Antonia Fraser, Mary, Queen of Scots, pp.534-535
  4. ^ a b Fraser, p.535
  5. ^ Charles Cawley, Medieval Lands, Scotland
  • Antonia Fraser, Mary, Queen of Scots, Dell Publishing Co., Inc. New York, March 1971