Robert II

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Representation of Robert II












King of Scots

Reign: 22 February 1371 – 19 April 1390

Coronation: 26 March 1371

Predecessor : David II

Successor: Robert III

Previous Title: Earl of Strathearn

Spouses:

  • Elizabeth Mure
  • Euphemia de Ross

Issue

  • Robert III of Scotland
  • Walter Stewart, Lord of Fife
  • Robert Stewart, 1st Duke of Albany
  • Alexander Stewart, 1st Earl of Buchan
  • Jean Stewart
  • Katherine Stewart
  • David Stewart, 1st Earl of Caithness
  • Walter Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl
  • Thomas Stewart
  • Isabel Stewart
  • Margaret Stewart

House: House of Stewart

Father: Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland

Mother: Marjorie Bruce

Born: Early 1316, Paisley Abbey, Renfrewshire

Died: 19 April 1390 (aged 74)

Dundonald Castle:, Ayrshire

Burial: Scone Abbey

Religion: Roman Catholic




Robert II (2 March 1316 – 19 April 1390) reigned as King of Scots from 1371 to his death as the first monarch of the House of Stewart. He was the son of Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland and of Marjorie Bruce, daughter of Robert the Bruce and of his first wife Isabella of Mar. Traditionally regarded as ineffectual, he has been re-appraised by modern scholarship.<ref>Ian Donnachie and George Hewitt, The Birlinn Companion to Scottish History, 278</ref>

Overview

Robert II (2 March 1316 – 19 April 1390) reigned as King of Scots from 1371 to his death as the first monarch of the House of Stewart. He was the son of Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland and of Marjorie Bruce, daughter of Robert the Bruce and of his first wife Isabella of Mar.

Edward Bruce was named heir to the throne but he died without legitimate children on 3 December 1318 in a battle near Dundalk in Ireland. Marjorie by this time had died in a riding accident - probably in 1317. Parliament decreed her infant son, Robert Stewart, as heir presumptive, but this lapsed on 5 March 1324 on the birth of a son, David, to King Robert and his second wife, Elizabeth de Burgh. Robert Stewart inherited the title of High Steward of Scotland on his father's death on 9 April 1326, and a Parliament held in July 1326 confirmed the young Steward as heir should Prince David die without a successor. In 1329 King Robert I died and the six year-old David succeeded to the throne with Sir Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray appointed Guardian of Scotland.

Edward Balliol, son of King John Balliol, assisted by the English and Scottish nobles disinherited by Robert I, invaded Scotland inflicting heavy defeats on the Bruce party on 11 August 1332 at Dupplin Moor and Halidon Hill on 10 July 1333. Robert fought at Halidon, where his uncle and former guardian, Sir James Stewart, was killed. Following this battle, Robert's lands in the west were given by Balliol to his supporter David Strathbogie, the titular Earl of Atholl. Robert took refuge in the fortress of Dumbarton Castle in the Clyde estuary to join his uncle, King David. In May 1334 David escaped to France leaving Robert and John Randolph, 3rd Earl of Moray as joint Guardians of the kingdom. Robert succeeded in regaining his lands but following Randolph's capture by the English in July 1335, his possessions were once again targeted by the forces of Balliol and King Edward III of England. This may have persuaded Robert to submit to Balliol and the English king and may explain his removal as Guardian by September 1335. The Guardianship transferred to Sir Andrew Murray of Bothwell but following his death in 1338 Robert was re-appointed and retained the office until King David returned from France in June 1341. Robert accompanied David into battle at Neville's Cross on 17 October 1346 but he and Patrick Dunbar, Earl of March escaped or fled the field and David was taken prisoner. In October 1357, the king was ransomed for 100,000 marks to be paid in installments over ten years.

Robert married Elizabeth Mure around 1348, legitimising his four sons and five daughters. His subsequent marriage to Euphemia de Ross in 1355 produced two sons and two surviving daughters and provided the basis of a future dispute regarding the line of succession. Robert joined a rebellion against David in 1363, but submitted to him following a threat to his right of succession. In 1364 David presented a proposal to Parliament that would cancel the remaining ransom debt if it was agreed that a Plantagenet heir would inherit the Scottish throne should he die without issue. This was rejected and Robert succeeded to the throne at the age of 55 following David's unexpected death in 1371. England still controlled large sectors in the Lothians and in the border country so King Robert allowed his southern earls to engage in actions in the English zones to regain their territories, halted trade with England and renewed treaties with France. By 1384 the Scots had re-taken most of the occupied lands, but following the commencement of Anglo-French peace talks, Robert was reluctant to commit Scotland to all-out war and obtained Scotland's inclusion in the peace treaty. Robert's peace strategy was a factor in the virtual coup in 1384 when he lost control of the country, first to his eldest son, John, Earl of Carrick, afterwards King Robert III, and then from 1388 to John's younger brother, Robert, Earl of Fife, afterwards the first Duke of Albany. Robert II died in Dundonald Castle in 1390 and was buried at Scone Abbey.

Early Life

Robert Stewart, born in 1316, was the only child of Walter Stewart, High Steward of Scotland and King Robert I's daughter Marjorie Bruce, who died probably in 1317 following a riding accident.<ref>Oram, et al., Kings & Queens, 123</ref>He had the upbringing of a Gaelic noble on the Stewart lands in Bute, Clydeside, and in Renfrew.<ref>Oram, et al., Kings & Queens, 123</ref>In 1315 parliament removed Marjorie's right as heir to her father in favour of her uncle, Edward Bruce.<ref>Boardman, Early Stewart Kings, 3</ref> Edward was killed at the Battle of Faughart, near Dundalk on 14 October 1318 resulting in a hastily arranged Parliament in December to enact a new entail naming Marjorie's son, Robert, as heir should the king die without a successor.<ref>Brown & Tanner, History of Scottish Parliament, 70–1</ref> The birth of a son, afterwards David II, to King Robert on 5 March 1324 canceled Robert Stewart's position as heir presumptive, but a Parliament at Cambuskenneth in July 1326 restored him in the line of succession should David die without an heir.<ref>Brown & Tanner, History of Scottish Parliament, 70–1</ref>This reinstatement of his status was accompanied by the gift of lands in Argyll, Roxburghshire and the Lothians.<ref>Oram, et al., Kings and Queens of Scotland, 124</ref>



References

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