RIZZIO, or Riccio, David (c. 1 5331 5 66), secretary of Mary, queen of Scots, was a native of Turin, and came to Scotland in 1561 in the train of the Piedmontese ambassador. The queen wanted a bass singer, and he entered her service as a musician, becoming also her valet de chambre, and in 1564 private foreign secretary. After her marriage to Darnley in 1565 his influence with Mary became paramount, and he gave himself great airs and affected considerable state, practically superseding Maitland of Lethington as secretary of state. His elevation aroused the active hostility of Darnley and the other nobles, and he was suspected of being the queen's lover. On the evening of the 9th of March 1566, the earls of Morton and Lindsay, with armed followers, entered Mary's supper chamber at Holyrood, seized Rizzio, hacked him to death with daggers, and threw his body into the courtyard.
See Ruthven's Narrative of Riccio's Murder (1836); and the articles on Mary, Queen Of Scots, and allied biographies.
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