James was crowned King of Scotland at the Church of the Holy Rude in Stirling, on 29 July 1567. Power was exercised on his behalf by a series of Regents appointed by Parliament. The first of these, James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray, was assassinated in 1570 by a supporter of the right of Mary, now a prisoner in England, to return to the Scottish throne, and the second and third died quickly. The most long-lasting was James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton, while historian and poet George Buchanan looked after James' education.
The 4th Earl of Morton was effective in suppressing all opposition to James' right to be king. But he was unable to defend himself against charged laid by members of James court in 1581 that he had taken part in the murder of James father, Lord Darnley. Morton was executed and James took personal control of power aged 15.
In doing so he chose advisers who were not as strictly Protestant as some nobles would have liked, and In in what became known as the Ruthven Raid protestant nobles including William Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie, kidnapped James and held him for nearly a year at Ruthven Castle, now known as Huntingtower Castle. On his escape in 1583 James VI had Gowrie executed and the very name of Ruthven expunged. He also had the Scottish Parliament make the Church of Scotland directly accountable to the king under what were called the Black Acts.