Arabella Stuart Timeline 1575-1615

Arabella Stuart

Born – 1575
Died – 25th September 1615
FatherCharles Stuart, Earl of Lennox (1557 – 1576)
MotherElizabeth Cavendish (1555 – 1582)
Spouses – m. 1610 William Seymour, Duke of Somerset (1588 – 1660)
Children – None


1575 (during)
Arabella Stuart, was born to Charles Stuart, Earl of Lennox, and Elizabeth Cavendish. Her cousin was the young King James VI of Scotland.
1576 (during)
Arabella’s father, Charles Stuart, Earl of Lennox died. Arabella should have inherited his title but the Scottish government declared that because Arabella had been born in England she could not inherit the title.
1578 (during)
Arabella’s paternal grandmother, Margaret Douglas, Dowager Countess of Lennox, died.
1582 (during)
Arabella’s mother, Elizabeth Cavendish died. Arabella was placed in the care of her maternal grandmother, Bess of Hardwick. She was raised at Bess’s property, Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire.
1582 (during)
Bess of Hardwick hoped that Queen Elizabeth would nominate Arabella as heir to the throne. At some point Bess negotiated for Arabella to marry Robert, son of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester and Lettice Knollys. When Elizabeth discovered the arrangement, she was furious and Bess fell from favour.
1584 (July)
Robert Dudley, Baron of Denbigh, who was betrothed to Arabella Stuart, died.
1587 (Summer)
It is known that Arabella spent time at court.
1588 (Summer)
It is known that Arabella spent time at court for a second summer.
1589 (early)
A private tutor was appointed to Arabella. Some historians believe her tutor was Christopher Marlowe.
1591 (November)
Arabella Stuart was invited to court.
1592 (around)
Although Arabella had been considered as a successor to Queen Elizabeth I, this was not supported by either William Cecil, Lord Burghley or Robert Cecil. Elizabeth’s influential statesmen felt that James VI of Scotland, son of Mary Queen of Scots and Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, was a more suitable successor.
1592 (during)
A possible marriage between Arabella Stuart and Raunution Farnese, son of the Duke of Parma was discussed. However, the Duke died before the match was finalised and it was dropped.
1592 (July)
Arabella Stuart left court.
1597 (during)
Bess of Hardwick moved into Hardwick New Hall which she had built next to her family home, Hardwick Hall.
1602 (during)
Desperate to be wed, Arabella tried to arrange a marriage between herself and Edward Seymour, son of Katherine Grey and Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford.
1603 (January)
Arabella Stuart’s attempt to secure a marriage was discovered and she was charged with plotting against Queen Elizabeth. She was forced to beg the Queen for mercy and forgiveness. Bess of Hardwick appealed to Queen Elizabeth that her daughter be married or given a position at court. However, Elizabeth replied that she should stay at Hardwick Hall under house arrest.
1603 (10th March)
Bess’s son, Henry Cavendish and Henry Stapleton tried to break Arabella out of Hardwick but the escape attempt was discovered. Elizabeth placed Arabella in the care of the Earl of Kent.
1603 (24th March)
Queen Elizabeth I died. As preferred by Cecil, the son of Mary Queen of Scots succeeded as King James I. Queen Elizabeth left nothing in her will for Arabella Stuart.
1603 (May)
Arabella was invited to court to meet her cousin, King James.
1603 (July)
The Main Plot
This was a plot by a number of courtiers to remove James from the throne and replace him with Arabella Stuart. It is called the Main Plot because another plot – Bye Plot – was a part of it. It was uncovered after the Bye Plot had been discovered.
1603 (August)
Arabella was in residence at court. She had reported the Main Plot to King James after being invited to participate in it.
1604 (during)
The King of Poland, Sigismund III, made a proposal of marriage to Arabella. The offer was rejected.
1605 (during)
Arabella was named as godmother to King James’s daughter, Princess Mary.
1608 (13th February)
Bess of Hardwick died.
1609 (during)
Arabella was accused of being involved with a man purporting to be the Prince of Moldavia. She was forgiven by King James.
1610 (during)
It was discovered that Arabella, 4th in line to the theone, was involved in a plot to marry William Seymour grandson of Katherine Grey and 6th in line to the throne. Both parties denied any such plot.
1610 (22nd June)
Arabella Stuart and William Seymour secretly married at Greenwich Palace. When the marriage was discovered King James immediately suspected a plot to take the throne and the couple were imprisoned separately. Arabella was placed under house arrest in Lambeth and William Seymour was sent to the Tower of London.
1610 (late)
King James discovered that Arabella Stuart and William Seymour had been writing to each other. He ordered that Arabella be moved to Durham under the custody of Bishop William James. However, Arabella claimed to be ill so the move was delayed.
1611 (Spring)
Unable to delay the move north any longer, Arabella began the journey north to Durham. She still claimed to be ill and progress was so slow that the party never left outer London.
1611 (June)
Arabella Stuart escaped dressed in men’s clothes and took a boat to France. Meanwhile, William Seymour escaped from the Tower of London and took a boat to Flanders. Arabella never reached Calais, her boat was intercepted and she was returned to England and imprisoned in the Tower of London. She never saw her husband again.
1612 (during)
Arabella’s health began to deteriorate.
1613 (during)
Arabella Stuart fell into a deep despair and possibly suffered a mental breakdown after she was not released to attend the marriage of Princess Elizabeth.
1614 (late)
Arabella refused all medical attention.
1615 (25th September)
Arabella Stuart died in the Tower of London after refusing to eat.


Published Apr 30, 2022 @ 12:54 pm – Updated – [last-modified]

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2022). Arabella Stuart 1575 – 1615.

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