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Robert_II_of_Scotland

Robert II of Scotland

Robert II (March 2, 1316April 19, 1390), was King of Scots from 1371 until his death. He was also the High Steward of Scotland and the first king from the House of Stewart (later spelled "Stuart").

Robert was the sole son of Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland (d. 1326) and Marjorie Bruce, daughter of King Robert I of Scotland and his first wife Isabella of Mar. He was delivered by caesarean section, reputedly at Paisley Abbey. His mother, who had been thrown from a horse, survived his birth by some hours at most.

In 1318 the Parliament of Scotland decreed that if King Robert died without sons the crown should pass to Marjorie's son; but the birth of a son afterwards, King David II, to Bruce in 1324 postponed the accession of Robert for nearly forty-two years. Soon after the infant David became king in 1329, the Steward began to take a prominent part in the affairs of Scotland. He was one of the leaders of the Scottish army at the Battle of Halidon Hill in July 1333; and after gaining some successes over the adherents of Edward Balliol in the west of Scotland, he and John Randolph, 3rd Earl of Moray (d. 1346), were chosen as regents of the kingdom, while David sought safety in France.

The regents soon quarrelled; then Randolph fell into the hands of the English and Robert became sole regent, meeting with such success in his efforts to restore the royal authority that the king was able to return to Scotland in 1341. Having handed over the duties of government to David, the Steward escaped from the Battle of Neville's Cross in 1346, and was again chosen regent while the king was a captive in England. Soon after this event some friction arose between Robert and his royal uncle. Accused, probably without truth, of desertion at Neville's Cross, the Steward as heir-presumptive was greatly chagrined by the king's proposal to make Edward III of England, or one of his sons, the heir to the Scottish throne, and by David's marriage with Margaret Logie.

In 1363 he rose in rebellion, and after having made his submission was seized and imprisoned together with four of his sons, being only released a short time before David's death in February 1371. By the terms of the decree of 1318 Robert now succeeded to the throne, and was crowned at Scone, Perthshire in March 1371. He was not a particularly active king. Some steps were taken by the nobles to control the royal authority. In 1378 a war broke out with England; but the king took no part in the fighting, which included the burning of Edinburgh and the Scottish victory at the Battle of Otterburn in 1388.

As age and infirmity were telling upon him, and in 1389 the Parliament appointed his second surviving son Robert, Earl of Fife, afterwards Duke of Albany, guardian of the kingdom. The king died at Dundonald in 1390, and was buried at Scone.

Marriages and issue

His first wife was Elizabeth Mure, by her he had at least ten children:

Johanna is the ancestor of the Queen Mother, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, through her second husband John Lyon, 1st Thane of Glamis

By his second wife, Euphemia de Ross, daughter of Aodh, Earl of Ross, and widow of the 3rd Earl of Moray, formerly his colleague as regent, he had five children:

The confusion about the circumstances of his first marriage would later lead to conflict amongst the descendants of his first marriage (which included James I of Scotland) and the unquestionably legitimate descendants of his second marriage.

Robert had also eight illegitimate children: By Moira Leitch:

  • John Stewart of Bute, Sheriff of Bute, "the Black Stewart"

By Marion Cardny:

  • Alexander Stewart, Canon of Glasgow
  • John Stewart of Dundonald, "the Red Stewart"
  • James Stewart of Kinfauns
  • Walter Stewart
  • John Stewart of Burley, Lord of Burley
  • Sir John Stewart of Cairdney
  • Sir Alexander Stewart of Inverlunan
  • Thomas Stewart, Dean of Dunkeld, Archdeacon and Bishop-elect of St. Andrews

References

Primary

Secondary

  • Tytler, PF, History of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1841-1843).
  • Stephen Boardman, 'The Early Stewart Kings: Robert II and Robert III (1371-1406)', East Linton, 1996

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