On this day: Robert II of Scotland born

HRH King Robert II of Scotland was the first ruler of the Stewart dynasty. Image: Electric Scotland
HRH King Robert II of Scotland was the first ruler of the Stewart dynasty. Image: Electric Scotland
Share this article
1
Have your say

Today is seven hundred years since the birth of Robert II, grandson of Robert the Bruce, the first monarch of the House of Stewart.

On March 2 1316, Robert II, the first monarch of the House of Stewart, was born in Renfrew.

Robert II's remains are buried at Scone Abbey. Image: VisitScotland

Robert II's remains are buried at Scone Abbey. Image: VisitScotland

He was the son of Marjorie Bruce, the daughter of the first Robert the Bruce and Walter, High Steward of Scotland.

During his early adult life, Robert II became Regent of Scotland on behalf of his uncle, David II. This tenure lasted until after the king was captured in England during the Battle of Neville’s Cross.

As the first King in the House of Stuart dynasty, his reign did not begin until age 54 when he succeeded to the throne upon the death of David II in 1371.

By this point, King Robert II of Scotland had been married twice - first to Elizabeth Mure in 1336 and then to Euphemia of Moray in 1355.

He sired no less than ten children from his first wife (including his successor John) and four from his second, though he also had eight children outside of marriage, which caused consternation upon his death as to who would take the throne.

READ MORE: Remembering the Scottish victory at the Battle of Roslin

Things did not go well for the middle-aged King following his coronation ceremony at Scone Abbey, Perthshire on March 26 1371. Unlike his infamous grandfather, Robert II’s reign was characterised by weakness and a lack of popular support with the noblemen he ruled.

Disliked by those below him and struggling to contain the noblemen itching for conflict with England, Scotland refused to recognise the official truce between England, France and Scotland in 1384, leading to the resumption of the Anglo-Scottish War.

Two years before his death came a victory against the English under the military leadership of James Douglas, who beat the forces of English leader Henry ‘Hotspur’ Percy of Northumberland.

This was one of the few victories that Robert II would supervise, and he died in 1390 at Dundonald Castle in Ayrshire at the age of 74.

He was succeeded by his son John, who took the title of Robert III, and his remains are buried at Scone Abbey in Perthshire.

Scottish heritage: for stories on Scotland’s people, places and past >>