Elizabeth Stuart, Countess of Lennox

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Elizabeth Cavendish
Countess of Lennox
Born31 March 1555
Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, England
Died16 January 1582(1582-01-16) (aged 26)
Spouse(s)Charles Stuart, 1st Earl of Lennox
IssueArbella Stuart
FatherSir William Cavendish
MotherBess of Hardwick

Elizabeth Stuart, Countess of Lennox née Cavendish (31 March 1555 – 16 January 1582) was an English noblewoman and the wife of Charles Stuart, 1st Earl of Lennox. She was the mother of Arbella Stuart, a close relation to the English and Scottish thrones.


Elizabeth Cavendish was born in Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, on 31 March 1555, the daughter of Bess of Hardwick and her second husband Sir William Cavendish. Catherine Grey was one of her godmothers.[1] Bess was a Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth I and became one of the wealthiest women in England.[2] Elizabeth Cavendish had seven siblings, two of whom died in early infancy.

Marriage to the Earl of Lennox[edit]

In 1574, Elizabeth Cavendish secretly married Charles Stuart, 1st Earl of Lennox, the younger brother of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, and a claimant to the English throne. Queen Elizabeth I became enraged at the two sets of parents for arranging such a controversial marriage without her permission. The Queen sent Elizabeth's mother and mother-in-law, Margaret Douglas, to imprisonment in the Tower of London.[3]

In 1575, Elizabeth gave birth to her only child, Arbella Stuart. Her husband died in 1576 of tuberculosis.[4]

Elizabeth herself died six years later on 21 January 1582 at age 26. The Earl of Shrewsbury wrote to William Cecil that his wife, Bess of Hardwick, "takes my daughter Lennox's death so greivously that she neither does nor can think of anything but of lamenting and weeping."[5]


  1. ^ Lovell 2005, p. 92
  2. ^ Fraser 1971, pp.474-475
  3. ^ Antonia Fraser, Mary, Queen of Scots, pp.534-535
  4. ^ Fraser 1971, p. 535
  5. ^ Henry Ellis, Original Letters Illustrative of English History, 2nd series vol. 3 (London, 1827), pp. 60-1.
  • Antonia Fraser, Mary, Queen of Scots, Dell Publishing Co., Inc. New York, 1971
  • David N. Durant, Arbella Stuart: A Rival to the Queen, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1978
  • Mary S. Lovell, Bess of Hardwick, First Lady of Chatsworth, Little, Brown, 2005