#TDIH 14 April 1578

On This day in 1578, James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell died. He had been imprisoned by the King of Denmark in appalling conditions. Some say this imprisonment caused Bothwell to lose his sanity.

Bothwell is best known for his relationship with Mary, Queen of Scots.

Mary, Queen of Scots

On the 15 May 1567, Bothwell married Mary, Queen of Scots. Some have suspected that it was against her will.

Bothwell had been accused of being one of the men responsible for murdering Mary’s previous (and 2nd)husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. Bothwell was tried and acquitted of the crime.

It is most likely because of the events with Bothwell that Mary was forced to abdicate her throne. Her son with Darnley, James, became King James VI.

Young King James VI

In the meantime, Bothwell fled to Scandinavia. He was captured off the coast of Norway, which at the time was a territory of Denmark. It is here that his past caught up with him from a previous marriage. He had wooed, married and abandoned a woman by the name of Anna Throndsen. Bothwell was able to settle the case for abandonment out of court with Anna by giving her one of his ship and promising her annual money.

After gaining the trust of the Danish king he eventually fell from favor and was imprisoned. It is at Dragsholm Castle that he is said to have gone insane.

*Credit to On This Day in Tudor History, by Claire Ridgway

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