The Start of a Dynasty

On February 22, 1371, Robert II became King of Scotland, establishing the royal House of Stuart (or Stewart as it was then), which reigned until 1603, when King James VI inherited the throne of England.

Robert was the son of Walter Stewart, hereditary High Steward of Scotland, and Marjorie Bruce, daughter of Robert I. The death of Robert I’s brother and heir in 1318 put Robert Stewart right in line to the throne, until Robert I’s second wife gave birth to a son, David II, in 1324.

Robert Stewart followed in his father’s footsteps and became High Steward after Walter died in 1326, and Parliament declared him heir presumptive in the case of Prince David’s death. David ascended the throne in 1329 on the death of his father, and Robert Steward proved to be a dedicated servant to his king, joining in the fight against Edward Balliol, who invaded Scotland in 1332. He followed David into battle at Neville’s Cross in 1341, when David was taken prisoner.

Eventually, relations between the king and his steward soured, and in 1363 Robert joined a rebellion against David. David’s death in 1371 made things easier: Robert was named king at the age of 55 and spent most of his reign squabbling with the English over border lands. He eventually lost control of the country to his eldest son, John, after a palace coup in 1384, and he died in Dundonald Castle in 1390 and was buried at Scone Abbey. His line, however, continued to reign Scotland (and later England) nearly unbroken until the Hanovarians arrived in the 18th century, more than 300 years after he was crowned.

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