Riccio, Or Ricci, David Rizzio Ritzio, a favorite of Mary, queen of Scots, born in Piedmont about 1533, assassinated in Edinburgh, March 9, 1566. He was the son of a poor musician of Turin, went to the court of the duke of Savoy, and thence to Scotland in the suite of an ambassador, who selected him because he was a good linguist. He was made by Mary one of her pages, and after the removal of Raulet he became, in December, 1564, her secretary for the French language. All her foreign correspondence passed through his hands, and upon her marriage with Darnley he was appointed keeper of the privy purse. Darnley attributed Mary's unwillingness to give him the power as well as name of king to the influence of Rizzio, with whom she was also suspected of an illicit intimacy. The favorite's rapid promotion, his arrogance, avarice, and low birth, had aroused the envy and anger of the nobles. By the Protestants he was viewed with disfavor on account of his religion. An agreement, partly written and partly verbal, was entered into by Darnley, Morton, Maitland, Ruthven, Lindsay, and others, for putting Rizzio to death. Just before the execution of the design, Darnley was required to sign another bond in which he gave his assent to whatever they should do.
In the evening, while the queen was at supper in company with the countess of Argyll, a few courtiers, her French physician, and Rizzio, the apartment was filled by the armed conspirators. Darnley held the queen, who was in an advanced state of pregnancy; Rizzio cowered behind her and held on to her dress. One or two of the assassins stabbed him in the body, and then dragging him into the1 antechamber despatched him with more than 50 wounds.