Lady Arbella Stuart

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Arbella Stuart

Also Known As: "Arabella /Stuart/", "Lady Arabella /Stuart/"
Birthdate: (40)
Birthplace: (Raised) Hardwick Hall, Doe Lea, Derbyshire, England
Death: September 27, 1615 (40)
Tower of London, Middlesex, England
Place of Burial: Westminster Abbey, London, Londonshire, England
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Charles Stuart, 1st Earl of Lennox and Elizabeth Cavendish, Countess of Lennox
Wife of William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset, 3rd Earl of Hertford
Mother of William Barrett

Occupation: 2nd Duchess Consort of Somerset
Managed by: Shirley Marie Caulk
Last Updated:

About Lady Arbella Stuart

Arbella Stuart was the daughter of Charles Stuart, earl of Lennox (1556-April 1576) and Elizabeth Cavendish (March 3,1555-January 21,1582). She was raised by her grandmother, Bess of Hardwick who, along with Arbella’s other grandmother, Margaret Douglas, taught her to think of herself as the future queen of England. She did have an excellent claim to the throne, but not as good as that of her cousin, James VI of Scotland. She was at the center of several plots during the reign of Elizabeth Tudor and under James I ended up under arrest for marrying without royal permission. Her husband was William Seymour (1587-1660), grandson of Lady Catherine Grey, who had his own claim to the throne. They wed in secret on June 22, 1610. When the marriage was revealed, Seymour was sent to the Tower of London while Arbella was placed in the custody of Sir Thomas Parry at Lambeth. In March 1611, Arbella was sent north to be confined in the care of the Bishop of Durham. With the assistance of her aunt, Mary Cavendish, countess of Shrewsbury, Arbella attempted an escape disguised as a man, planning to meet her husband and go with him to France. They left England on separate ships but Arbella’s vessel was captured by a naval pinnace sent to bring her back. This time she was sent to the Tower. Although she was never tried, she had little hope of release and in 1615 she starved herself to death. Biographies: There are several but the most recent are David N. Durant's Arbella Stuart: A Rival to the Queen and Sarah Gristwood's Arbella: England's Lost Queen; Oxford DNB entry under "Stuart [married name Seymour], Lady Arabella." Portraits: several portraits of Arbella Stuart are at Hardwick Hall; a number of other portraits are said to be Arbella but are probably not. The earliest was painted in 1577; in 1589 at 13, called "Countess of Lennox" and attributed to Rowland Lockey; in 1592 by Nicholas Hilliard; c.1604-5, possibly by Marcus Gheeraerts (three copies exist); 1605, probably by Robert Peake (shown); c.1619 engraving, probably based on a lost portrait c.1608-9.

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Lady Arbella Stuart's Timeline

April 1575
(Raised) Hardwick Hall, Doe Lea, Derbyshire, England
Age 34
September 27, 1615
Age 40
Tower of London, Middlesex, England
Westminster Abbey, London, Londonshire, England