Lady Arbella Stuart (1575 – 25 September 1615) (or Arabella, or Stewart) was an English noblewoman who was considered a possible successor to Queen Elizabeth I of England. During the reign of King James VI and I, she married William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset in secret. King James imprisoned William Seymour and placed her under house arrest. When she and her husband tried to escape England, she was captured and imprisoned in the Tower of London, where she died at age 39.
Heiress to the English throne
For some time before 1592, Arbella was considered one of the natural candidates to succeed her first cousin twice removed, Queen Elizabeth I. However, between the end of 1592 and the spring of 1593, the influential Cecils – Elizabeth's Lord Treasurer, Lord Burghley, and his son, Secretary of State Sir Robert Cecil – turned their attention away from Arbella towards her cousin James VI of Scotland, regarding him as a preferable successor.