Rizzio, David rĭt´sēō [key], 1533?–1566, favorite of Mary Queen of Scots. He was a Piedmontese musician (also called Riccio) who arrived (1561) in Scotland with the ambassador from Savoy. He came to the notice of Queen Mary and toward the end of 1564 became her secretary for French affairs. The trust that Mary placed in him, however, caused jealousy and hatred on the part of many great nobles. They persuaded Lord Darnley, Mary's husband, that Rizzio was Mary's lover. Then, in 1566, with Darnley's support, they broke into Mary's quarters in Holyrood Palace, seized Rizzio in the queen's presence, and killed him. There is no proof or disproof of the charge that Mary was his mistress, but it is clear that his murder was only part of a larger campaign by Scottish nobles against Mary.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: British and Irish History: Biographies