Elizabeth Stuart, Countess of Lennox

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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 Stuart, 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.


Stuart 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.

Stuart had seven siblings, two of whom died in early infancy.

Marriage to the Earl of Lennox[edit]

In 1574, Stuart secretly married Charles Stuart, 1st Earl of Lennox, the younger brother of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, and a claimant to the English throne. Queen Elizabeth I became enraged at the two sets of parents for arranging such a controversial marriage without her permission. The Queen sent Stuart's mother and mother-in-law, Margaret Douglas, to imprisonment in the Tower of London.[3]

In 1575, Stuart gave birth to her only child, Arbella Stuart. Her husband died in 1576 of tuberculosis.[4] Stuart herself died six years later in January 1582 at age 26.[4][5]

After her mother died, the seven year-old Arbella became the ward of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley. In 1611, King James I of England imprisoned the adult Arbella in the Tower of London for marrying William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset, another close claimant to the throne, without royal permission. Arbella died in the Tower on 25 September 1615.


  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