Category Archives: Scottish Royals

Mary of Guelders, Queen of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

Mary of Guelders, wife of James II, King of Scots was born around 1434, the eldest of the five children of Arnold, Duke of Guelders and Catherine of Cleves. The Duchy of Guelders was located in the present Dutch province of Gelderland (in English Guelders), the present Dutch province of Limburg, and parts of the present German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Mary’s mother Catherine was the daughter of Adolph I, Duke of Cleves and Marie of Burgundy. Adolph and Marie were the great-great grandparents of Anne of Cleves, the fourth wife of King Henry VIII of England.

Mary had four siblings:

Mary was educated in the court of her great uncle Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy and his third wife Isabella of Portugal, who was a granddaughter of John of Gaunt, son of King Edward III of England. Isabella, who had been well educated by her parents, King João I of Portugal and Philippa of Lancaster, was known for her intelligence, her patronage of the arts, and her political influence on her husband and son. She was a great influence on Mary and helped arrange Mary’s marriage to James II, King of Scots.

Mary’s great uncle Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy; Credit – Wikipedia

Philip and Isabella had planned to betroth Mary to Charles, Count of Maine, but her father could not pay the dowry. Negotiations for a marriage to James II, King of Scots began in July 1447 when a Burgundian envoy went to Scotland and were concluded in September 1448. Philip promised to pay Mary’s dowry, while Isabella paid for her trousseau. Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy settled a dowry of 60,000 crowns on his great-niece and Mary’s dower (given to a wife for her support in the event that she should become widowed) of 10,000 crowns was secured on lands in Strathearn, Athole, Methven, and Linlithgow in Scotland. William Crichton, 1st Lord Crichton, Lord Chancellor of Scotland came to Burgundy to escort Mary to Scotland, where they landed at Leith on June 18, 1449. 15-year-old Mary married 19-year-old James II, King of Scots, at Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh on July 3, 1449. Immediately after the marriage ceremony, Mary was dressed in purple robes and crowned queen.

James II, King of Scots; Credit – Wikipedia

Mary and James had seven children:

On August 3, 1460, 29-year-old James II, King of Scots was accidentally killed when a cannon nearby where he was standing exploded. Mary became the regent for her nine-year-old son King James III.

Mary indirectly participated in the English Wars of the Roses when she gave refuge in Scotland to the wife of the Lancaster King Henry VI, Margaret of Anjou, and her son Edward of Westminster to keep them out of the hands of the Yorkists. Mary even arranged to give Margaret Scottish troops and the two queens arranged a preliminary betrothal between Margaret’s son and Mary’s youngest daughter Margaret. However, any arrangements the two queens made came to naught. Mary’s uncle Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy made an alliance with the Yorkist King Edward IV of England. Edward IV even proposed a marriage with Mary which Mary rejected. Mary’s uncle pressured her to call off the betrothal of her daughter and Prince Edward, to Margaret’s disappointment. In 1462, Mary paid the Lancastrian royals to leave Scotland and made peace with Edward IV.

Before his death, James II had been involved in the planning of a new castle, Ravenscraig Castle, as a home for Mary. After her husband’s death, Mary began the construction of the castle as a memorial to him and as a dower house for herself. Mary lived in the castle until her death, when only the east tower and the basement of the central section had been built.

Ravenscraig Castle; Photo Credit – By Ian Mitchell, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9167584

Mary of Guelders survived her husband by only three years, dying on December 1, 1463 at the age of thirty. She was buried in Trinity College Kirk in Edinburgh, which she had founded three years before in memory of her husband. In 1848, despite a formal protest from the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Trinity College Kirk was demolished to allow for the construction of the Waverley Railroad Station. At the time of the demolition, Mary’s remains were moved to Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh.

Vault containing the remains of Mary of Guelders at Holyrood Abbey; Photo Credit  – www.findagrave.com

Plaque on the vault containing the remains of Mary of Guelders at Holyrood Abbey; Photo Credit – Connie Nissinger – www.findagrave.com

Wikipedia: Mary of Guelders, Queen of Scots

Works Cited

  • Ashley, Michael, and Julian Lock. The Mammoth Book Of British Kings & Queens. London: Constable & Robinson, 2012. Print.
  • “Guelders”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 6 June 2017.
  • “James II Of Scotland”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 6 June 2017.
  • “Mary Of Guelders”. En.wikipedia.org. Web. 6 June 2017.
  • “Scottish Royal Burial Sites”. Unofficial Royalty. Web. 27 May 2017.
  • Williamson, David. Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell, 1996. Print.

James II, King of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

James II, King of Scots was born on October 16, 1430 at Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh, Scotland. He had an elder twin brother named Alexander who died before his first birthday, making James the heir to the throne of Scotland and the holder of the titles Duke of Rothesay and Steward of Scotland. James was then the only son of James I, King of Scots and Lady Joan Beaufort, a granddaughter of John of Gaunt who was a son of King Edward III of England. James II had six sisters, three older and three younger. He was nicknamed “Fiery Face” because of a birthmark on his face.

James II had seven siblings:

During the reign of James I, there were lingering doubts about the validity of the first marriage of his grandfather Robert II and this raised questions about James I’s own right to the throne of Scotland. James I found himself facing challenges from descendants of his grandfather’s second marriage.

On February 20, 1437, plotters supporting the claim to the throne of Walter Stewart, Earl of Atholl, a son of Robert II’s second marriage, broke into the Carthusian Charterhouse of Perth where James I and wife Joan were staying. The conspirators reached the couple’s bedroom where Joan tried to protect James I but was wounded. James I then tried to escape via an underground passage but was cornered and hacked to death by Sir Robert Graham.  There was no strong support for the conspiracy and James I’s assassins were soon captured and brutally executed. Thus, James I’s six-year-old son succeeded him to the throne as James II, King of Scots. He was crowned at Holyrood Abbey on March 25, 1437 by Michael Ochiltree, Bishop of Dunblane.

                                     The Coronation of James II of Scotland (25 March 1437) by markdevoe360 on Pictify

 

Queen Joan took custody of her 6-year old son King James II and declared a regency. The idea of having Scotland ruled by an Englishwoman was not popular and three months later, King James II’s first cousin, Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas, was proclaimed regent, a position he held until his death two years later. In 1439, Joan married Sir James Stewart, known as the Black Knight of Lorne. The Stewarts of Lorne were trusted supporters of Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas, the young king’s regent, and their power greatly increased while the Douglas family controlled Scotland. However, this all changed with the death of Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas.

After Douglas’ death, the power of the regency was shared uneasily by William Crichton, 1st Lord Crichton, Lord Chancellor of Scotland and Sir Alexander Livingston of Callendar, who was the custodian of the young King James II as the warden of Stirling Castle. As a result, Stewart and his Douglas allies planned to abduct the young James II who was being held by Livingston at Stirling Castle. However, Livingston placed Joan and her new husband under house arrest at Stirling Castle. They were only released by making a formal agreement to relinquish custody of King James II in favor of Livingston, by giving up Joan’s dowry for her son’s maintenance, and agreeing that Livingston’s actions were only in ensure the king’s safety. From then on, Joan had no participation in matters of state.

In 1440, in the name of James II, King of Scots, regents William Crichton and Alexander Livingston invited the two sons of the recently deceased former regent, Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas to dinner at Edinburgh Castle. While 16-year-old William Douglas, 6th Earl of Douglas and his 10-year-old brother David Douglas ate their dinner, a black bull’s head, the symbol of death, was brought in and placed before the young Earl. The two brothers were then dragged out to Castle Hill, given a mock trial and beheaded in the presence of a protesting 10-year-old King James II. This brutal incident of murder and betrayal of hospitality, done to break up the power of the Black Douglases, has become known as the “Black Dinner” and was an inspiration for the famous “Red Wedding” massacre in The Game of Thrones.

The Black Dinner; Credit – http://www.stewartsociety.org/

Negotiations for a marriage to Mary of Guelders, the eldest of the five children of Arnold, Duke of Guelders and Catherine of Cleves began in July 1447 when an envoy from  Burgundy went to Scotland and were concluded in September 1448. Mary’s great uncle Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy promised to pay Mary’s dowry, while his wife Isabella of Portugal paid for her trousseau. Mary had been educated in their court. After negotiations were concluded, Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy settled a dowry of 60,000 crowns on his great-niece and Mary’s dower (given to a wife for her support in the event that she should become widowed) of 10,000 crowns was secured on lands in Strathearn, Athole, Methven, and Linlithgow in Scotland. William Crichton, 1st Lord Crichton, Lord Chancellor of Scotland came to Burgundy to escort Mary to Scotland, where they landed at Leith on June 18, 1449. 15-year-old Mary married 19-year-old James II, King of Scots, at Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh on July 3, 1449. Immediately after the marriage ceremony, Mary was dressed in purple robes and crowned queen.

James II and Mary of Guelders; Credit – Wikipedia

James and Mary had seven children:

After the murders that occurred at the “Black Dinner”, the Douglases became sworn enemies of Lord Chancellor Crichton and James II. They formed an alliance with Sir Alexander Livingston of Callendar despite Livingston being a conspirator in the “Black Dinner” murders. During the 1440s, the nobles of Scotland battled for power. By 1449, the Livingston family held much power including holding government offices and many castles. That same year, James II came of age and assumed the full powers of the king. James arrested most of the Livingstons who held office, imprisoned them, and executed two members of the family.

William Douglas, 8th Earl of Douglas left Scotland to avoid capture. He returned in 1450 and had a distant, but cordial relationship with James. However, in 1452, James learned that Douglas had formed an alliance with John of Islay, Earl of Ross and Alexander Lindsay, 4th Earl of Crawford.  Angry about the alliance, James invited Douglas to dinner at Stirling Castle. He asked Douglas to break the alliance and when Douglas refused, James stabbed him as did the several men with him. According to the Auchinleck Chronicle, Sir Patrick Gray “struck out his brains with a pole ax”, and his body was thrown out of a window. The brother of the 8th Earl, the new 9th Earl of Douglas, James Douglas, attempted to continue the struggle with his brothers. However, they were defeated at the Battle of Arkinholm in 1455. Shortly after the battle the Black Douglases were attainted, the last few castles held by them fell, and they ceased to be a serious force in Scotland.

James II of Scotland depicted in the diary of Jörg von Ehingen, 15th century; Credit – Wikipedia

James II supported the House of Lancaster in the English Wars of the Roses. His mother had been Lady Joan Beaufort, a granddaughter of John of Gaunt, from whom the House of Lancaster originated. The Lancaster King Henry VI of England was the second cousin of James. In 1460, James II besieged Roxburgh Castle near the English border in support of King Henry VI. On August 3, 1460, 29-year-old James II, King of Scots was accidentally killed when a cannon nearby where he was standing exploded. Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie stated in his The Historie and Chronicles of Scotland, 1436–1565: “…as the King stood near a piece of artillery, his thigh bone was dug in two with a piece of misframed gun that brake in shooting, by which he was stricken to the ground and died hastily.” His remains were taken to Edinburgh and buried at Holyrood Abbey. His tomb, like so many others, has not survived.

As with the start of the reigns of James I and James II, Scotland once again had a child king in James III, King of Scots, the son of James II and Mary of Guelders. Mary served as the regent for her nine-year-old son until her death three years later. The rest of the Scottish Stuarts, James IV, James V, Mary, Queen of Scots, and James VI, would also be child monarchs. James II’s death also continued the violent deaths of the Scottish Stuarts which started with the assassination of his father James I and continued with the deaths in battle of James III and James IV and the beheading of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Wikipedia: James II, King of Scots

Works Cited

  • Ashley, M. and Lock, J. (2012). The mammoth book of British kings & queens. London: Constable & Robinson.
  • En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Clan Douglas. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clan_Douglas [Accessed 24 Jun. 2017].
  • Unofficial Royalty. (2017). James II, King of Scots. [online] Available at: http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/james-ii-king-of-scots/ [Accessed 24 Jun. 2017].
  • En.wikipedia.org. (2017). James II of Scotland. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_II_of_Scotland [Accessed 24 Jun. 2017].
  • Unofficial Royalty. (2017). Lady Joan Beaufort, Queen of Scots. [online] Available at: http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/lady-joan-beaufort-queen-of-scots/ [Accessed 24 Jun. 2017].
  • Unofficial Royalty. (2017). Mary of Guelders, Queen of Scots. [online] Available at: http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/mary-of-guelders-queen-of-scots/ [Accessed 24 Jun. 2017].
  • Williamson, D. (1996). Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell.

Lady Joan Beaufort, Queen of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

Lady Joan Beaufort, wife of James I, King of Scots, was born around 1404 in England. She was the third of the six children and the first of the two daughters of John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset and Margaret Holland. Her mother was the daughter of Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent, who was the eldest son of Joan, 4th Countess of Kent, known as “The Fair Maid of Kent” from her first marriage to Thomas Holland, 1st Earl of Kent, 2nd Baron Holland. Joan of Kent later married Edward, Prince of Wales (the Black Prince), the eldest son of King Edward III of England, and was the mother of King Richard II of England.

Joan Beaufort’s father John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset was the eldest of the four children of John of Gaunt, son of King Edward III, and his mistress Katherine Swynford. Their children were given the surname “Beaufort” after a former French possession of John of Gaunt. John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford married on January 13, 1396 at Lincoln Cathedral in England. After the marriage of John and Katherine, their four children were legitimized by both King Richard II of England and Pope Boniface IX. After John of Gaunt’s eldest son from his first marriage to Blanche of Lancaster deposed his first cousin King Richard II in 1399, the new King Henry IV inserted a phrase excepta regali dignitate (“except royal status”) in the documents that had legitimized his Beaufort half-siblings which barred them from the throne.

Joan had five siblings:

Joan met her husband James I, King of Scots during his long captivity in England. After the probable murder of his elder son by an uncle, Robert III, King of Scots sent his only surviving son James to France for his safety. However, the ship 12-year-old James was sailing on was captured on March 22, 1406 by English pirates who delivered James to King Henry IV of England. Robert III died a month later and James, who was nominally King of Scots, spent the first eighteen years of his reign in captivity. As Joan was related to the English royal family, she was often at court. Joan is said to be the inspiration for The Kingis Quair  (“The King’s Book”), a poem supposedly written by James after he looked out a window and saw Joan in the garden.

James I, King of Scots; Credit – Wikipedia

Although there may have been an attraction between Joan and James, their marriage was political as it was a condition for James’ release from captivity. Joan was well connected. She was a great granddaughter of King Edward III, a great-niece of King Richard II, a niece of King Henry IV, and a first cousin of King Henry V. Her paternal uncle Henry Beaufort was a Cardinal, Bishop of Winchester and Chancellor of England. The English considered a marriage to a Beaufort gave the Scots an alliance with the English instead of the French. Joan’s dowry of £6,000 was subtracted from James’ ransom of £40,000. The couple was married February 12, 1424, at St. Mary Overie Church, now known as Southwark Cathedral in Southwark, London, England. James was released from his long captivity on March 28, 1424 and the couple traveled to Scotland. On May 21, 1424, James and Joan were crowned King and Queen of Scots at Scone by Henry Wardlaw, Bishop of St. Andrews.

Joan and James I, King of Scots had eight children:

Upon returning to Scotland after an absence of 18 years, James found that Scotland was in a horrible condition, with much poverty and lawlessness. He vigorously set about transforming his kingdom and made many enemies. In addition, there were still doubts about the validity of the first marriage of James’ grandfather, Robert II and this raised questions about James’ own right to the throne of Scotland. James found himself facing challenges from descendants of his grandfather’s second marriage.

On February 20, 1437, plotters supporting the claim to the throne of Walter Stewart, Earl of Atholl, a son of Robert II’s second marriage, broke into the Carthusian Charterhouse of Perth where James and Joan were staying. The conspirators reached the couple’s bedroom where Joan tried to protect James but was wounded. James then tried to escape via an underground passage but was cornered and hacked to death by Sir Robert Graham.  There was no strong support for the conspiracy and James’ assassins were soon captured and brutally executed.

Joan herself had been a target of her husband’s killers, and although wounded, she escaped, took custody of her 6-year old son King James II and declared a regency. The idea of having Scotland ruled by an Englishwoman was not popular and three months later, King James II’s first cousin, Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas, was proclaimed regent, a position he held until his death two years later. On September 21, 1439, Joan married Sir James Stewart, known as the Black Knight of Lorne. The Stewarts of Lorne were trusted supporters of Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas, the young king’s regent, and their power greatly increased while the Douglas family controlled Scotland. However, this all changed with the death of Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas.

After Douglas’ death, the power of the regency was shared uneasily by William Crichton, 1st Lord Crichton, Lord Chancellor of Scotland and Sir Alexander Livingston of Callendar, who was the custodian of the young King James II as the warden of Stirling Castle.  As a result, Joan’s second husband Sir James Stewart and his Douglas allies planned to abduct the young James II who was being held by Livingston at Stirling Castle. However, Livingston placed Joan and her new husband under house arrest at Stirling Castle. They were only released by making a formal agreement to relinquish custody of King James II in favor of Livingston, by giving up Joan’s dowry for her son’s maintenance, and agreeing that Livingston’s actions were only in ensure the king’s safety. From then on, Joan had no participation in matters of state.

Joan and Sir James Stewart, the Black Knight of Lorne had three sons:

In November 1444, Joan was besieged at Dunbar Castle by William Douglas, 8th Earl of Douglas from the Black Douglas faction, who may have had the blessing of King James II. Joan was under the protection of James Douglas, 3rd Earl of Angus from the Red Douglas faction and Sir Adam Hepburn of Hailes, the custodian of Dunbar Castle. It is likely that supplies from the nearby Red Douglas stronghold of Tantallon Castle were shipped in via a hidden passage to maintain the garrison at Dunbar Castle. However, after a ten-month siege, Joan died on July 15, 1445 at around 41 years of age and Dunbar Castle was turned over to the Black Douglas faction.

Joan was buried beside her first husband James I, King of Scots in the Carthusian Charterhouse of Perth, which he had founded. On May 11, 1559, following a sermon by John Knox, a leader of the Scottish Reformation and the founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, the Carthusian Charterhouse in Perth was attacked by a mob of Protestant reformers. Everything was destroyed including the royal tombs and remains.

A monument marking the site of the Charterhouse; Photo Credit – By kim traynor, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29398897

Wikipedia: Joan Beaufort, Queen of Scots

Works Cited

  • Ashley, Michael, and Julian Lock. The Mammoth Book Of British Kings & Queens. London: Constable & Robinson, 2012. Print.
  • “Dunbar Castle”. En.wikipedia.org. Web. 27 May 2017.
  • “Dunbar Versus Douglas – A Story Of Conflict”. Douglashistory.co.uk. Web. 27 May 2017.
  • info@undiscoveredscotland.co.uk, Undiscovered. “Joan Beaufort, Queen Of Scotland: Biography On Undiscovered Scotland”. Undiscoveredscotland.co.uk. Web. 27 May 2017.
  • “James I Of Scotland”. En.wikipedia.org. Web. 27 May 2017.
  • “Joan Beaufort, Queen Of Scots”. En.wikipedia.org. Web. 27 May 2017.
  • “John Beaufort, 1St Earl Of Somerset”. En.wikipedia.org. Web. 27 May 2017.
  • “Margaret Holland, Duchess Of Clarence”. En.wikipedia.org.  Web. 27 May 2017.
  • “Scottish Royal Burial Sites”. Unofficial Royalty. Web. 27 May 2017.
  • Williamson, David. Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell, 1996. Print.

James I, King of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

James I, King of Scots, along with his elder twin brother Robert who died in infancy, was born July 25, 1394 at Dunfermline Abbey in Fife, Scotland. He was the second surviving son of Robert III, King of Scots and Anabella Drummond. In 1388, two years before he became king, James’ father had been kicked by a horse and became an invalid. James’ grandfather Robert II, King of Scots died in 1390 and James’ father became King of Scots. At the time of his birth, James’ much older brother David was the heir to the throne of Scotland.

James had six siblings:

A number of events occurred during James’ childhood that would eventually affect him. As time went by, Robert III’s disabilities worsened and he fell into a state of depression. There were disputes among the children of his two marriages as to who was the legitimate heir. Queen Anabella knew she had to take matters into her own hands to protect the rights of her elder son David, the heir to the throne. In 1398, Anabella arranged a tournament in Edinburgh at which her eldest surviving son 19-year-old David was knighted. Later that same year, he was created Duke of Rothesay and Lieutenant of the Realm. However, serious problems began to emerge between David and his uncle Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, who was the third in line to the throne after David and James.

Anabella, Queen of Scots died in October 1401. With the loss of his mother’s protection and his father too incapacitated to protect him, David, Duke of Rothesay fell prey to his uncle Robert’s machinations. David was accused unjustifiably of appropriating and confiscating funds and was arrested in 1402. He was imprisoned at Falkland Palace and died on March 26, 1402, at the age of 22, probably of starvation.

Eight-year-old James, now heir to the throne, was the only one in the way of transferring the royal line to the Albany Stewarts. In 1402 Albany and his close Black Douglas ally Archibald Douglas, 4th Earl of Douglas were absolved of any involvement in David’s death, although it is surely likely that they were to blame This cleared the way for Albany’s re-appointed as the Lieutenant of the Realm. Eventually, fearing for the safety of his only surviving son James, Robert III decided to send him to France. However, the ship 12-year-old James was sailing on was captured on March 22, 1406 by English pirates who delivered James to King Henry IV of England. Robert III, King of Scots, aged 68, died at Rothesay Castle on April 4, 1406 after hearing of his son’s captivity.

12-year-old James was now the uncrowned King of Scots and would remain in captivity in England for eighteen years. Back in Scotland, his uncle Robert, Duke of Albany consolidated his power and ruled as regent in the absence of his nephew. Not unsurprisingly, Albany made little effort to secure James’ ransom and return to Scotland, focusing instead on securing his own power and interests. Albany died in 1420 and was succeeded as Duke of Albany and regent by his son Murdoch Stewart.

In England, James had a small household of Scots nobles. King Henry IV treated the young James well and provided him with a good education and James was able to observe Henry IV’s methods of kingship and political control. Throughout his captivity, James used personal visits from his nobles along with letters to important people to maintain his connection to his kingdom. King Henry IV died in 1413 and his son King Henry V immediately ended James’s relative freedom, first holding him in the Tower of London along with the other Scots prisoners. One of these prisoners was James’s cousin Murdoch Stewart, Albany’s son, who had been captured in 1402 at the Battle of Homildon Hill. Initially, they were held apart, but from 1413 until Murdoch’s release in 1415, they were together in the Tower of London and at Windsor Castle.

By 1420, 26-year old James’ standing went from hostage to more of a guest. James accompanied Henry V to France where his presence was used against the Scots fighting on the French side during the Hundred Year’s War. He attended the coronation of Henry V’s wife Catherine of Valois in February 1421 and was honored by sitting on the queen’s left at the coronation banquet. In March 1421, James accompanied Henry V on a tour of important English towns. During this tour, James was knighted on Saint George’s Day. By July 1421, Henry V and James were back campaigning in France. Henry appointed his brother John of Lancaster, Duke of Bedford and James as the joint commanders of the Siege of Dreux. After Henry V died of dysentery in France on August 31, 1422, James was part of the escort taking the king’s body back to London.

While in England, James met his future wife Lady Joan Beaufort. She was the third of the six children and the first of the two daughters of John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset and Margaret Holland. Her mother was the daughter of Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent, who was the eldest son of Joan, 4th Countess of Kent, known as “The Fair Maid of Kent” from her first marriage to Thomas Holland, 1st Earl of Kent, 2nd Baron Holland. Joan of Kent later married Edward, Prince of Wales (the Black Prince), the eldest son of King Edward III of England, and was the mother of King Richard II of England.

Joan Beaufort’s father John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset was the eldest of the four children of John of Gaunt, son of King Edward III, and his mistress Katherine Swynford. Their children were given the surname “Beaufort” after a former French possession of John of Gaunt. John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford married on January 13, 1396 at Lincoln Cathedral in England. After the marriage of John and Katherine, their four children were legitimized by both King Richard II of England and Pope Boniface IX. After John of Gaunt’s eldest son from his first marriage to Blanche of Lancaster deposed his first cousin King Richard II in 1399, the new King Henry IV inserted a phrase excepta regali dignitate (“except royal status”) in the documents which legitimized his Beaufort half-siblings which barred them from the throne.

As Joan was related to the English royal family, she was often at court. Joan is said to be the inspiration for The Kingis Quair  (“The King’s Book”), a poem supposedly written by James after he looked out a window and saw Joan in the garden. Although there may have been an attraction between Joan and James, their marriage was political as it was a condition for James’ release from captivity.

James I, King of Scots and Joan Beaufort; Credit – Wikipedia

Joan was well connected. She was a great grand-daughter of King Edward III, a great-niece of King Richard II, a niece of King Henry IV, and a first cousin of King Henry V. Her paternal uncle Henry Beaufort was a Cardinal, Bishop of Winchester and Chancellor of England. The English considered a marriage to a Beaufort gave the Scots an alliance with the English instead of the French. Joan’s dowry of £6,000 was subtracted from James’ ransom of £40,000. The couple was married February 12, 1424, at St. Mary Overie Church, now known as Southwark Cathedral in Southwark, London, England. James was released from his long captivity on March 28, 1424 and the couple traveled to Scotland. On May 21, 1424, James and Joan were crowned King and Queen of Scots at Scone Abbey by Henry Wardlaw, Bishop of St. Andrews.

The entrance, the only remaining part of Scone Abbey; Photo Credit – By Patrick Gruban from Munich, Germany – IMG_3910Uploaded by Kurpfalzbilder.de, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9553070

James and Joan had eight children:

Upon returning to Scotland after an absence of 18 years, James found that Scotland was in a horrible condition, with much poverty and lawlessness. He vigorously set about transforming his kingdom and made him many enemies. In addition, there were still doubts about the validity of the first marriage of James’ grandfather, Robert II and this raised questions about James’ own right to the throne of Scotland. James found himself facing challenges from descendants of his grandfather’s two marriages. He knew he had to crush the power of his cousin Murdoch Stewart, 2nd Duke of Albany to strengthen the crown’s power and restrain the power of the lawless nobles. A Parliament held in Perth in 1425 issued orders for Murdoch’s arrest and in May 1425 a trial was held at Stirling where Murdoch, his sons Alexander and Walter Stewart, and his father-in-law Duncan, Earl of Lennox were all found guilty of treason and immediately executed. Murdoch’s third son James fled to Ireland, where he would spend the remainder of his life in exile.

James continued to rule Scotland with a strong hand and made numerous financial and legal reforms. He tried to reshape the Scottish Parliament on the English model, and in 1428 renewed the Auld Alliance with France. On this occasion, James arranged for the marriage of his eldest daughter Margaret to the French Dauphin, the future King Louis XI of France. However, Margaret died before Louis became king. Although James’ measures were effective, he created many enemies.

On February 20, 1437, plotters supporting the claim to the throne of Walter Stewart, Earl of Atholl, a son of Robert II’s second marriage, broke into the Carthusian Charterhouse of Perth where James and Joan were staying. The conspirators reached the couple’s bedroom where Joan tried to protect James but was wounded. James then tried to escape via an underground passage but was cornered and hacked to death by Sir Robert Graham. There was no strong support for the conspiracy and James’ assassins were soon captured and brutally executed.

James was buried in the Carthusian Charterhouse of Perth, which he had founded. On May 11, 1559, following a sermon by John Knox, a leader of the Scottish Reformation and the founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, the Carthusian Charterhouse in Perth was attacked by a mob of Protestant reformers. Everything was destroyed including the royal tombs and remains.

A monument now marks the site of the Carthusian Charterhouse in Perth; Photo Credit – By kim traynor, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29398897

James I, King of Scots was only 42 years old when he was killed and left a 7-year-old son to succeed him as King James II. James I’ wife Joan served as regent for her son for a few short months and then was forced to give up the regency and the custody of her son. Joan made a second marriage, had three more children, died in 1445, and was buried with her first husband.

Wikipedia: James I, King of Scots

Works Cited

  • Ashley, Michael, and Julian Lock. The Mammoth Book Of British Kings & Queens. London: Constable & Robinson, 2012. Print.
  • “James I Of Scotland”. En.wikipedia.org. Web. 27 May 2017.
  • “Joan Beaufort, Queen Of Scots”. En.wikipedia.org. Web. 27 May 2017.
  • “Scottish Royal Burial Sites”. Unofficial Royalty. Web. 27 May 2017.
  • Williamson, David. Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell, 1996. Print.

Anabella Drummond, Queen of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

Robert III, King of Scots and his wife Annabella Drummond as depicted on the 1562 Forman Armorial; Credit – Wikipedia

Anabella Drummond, born circa 1350 at Dunfermline Abbey in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, was the daughter of Sir John Drummond of Stobhall, 11th Thane of Lennox and Chief of Clan Drummond and Mary de Montfichet, daughter and co-heiress with her sisters of Sir William de Montfichet, of Stobhall, Cargill, and Auchterarder. Sir John’s sister Margaret Drummond was the second wife of David II, King of Scots.

Anabella had at least seven siblings:

  • Dougal Drummond
  • Sir Malcolm Drummond (circa 1351 – 1402), married Isabel Douglas, Countess of Mar, no issue, he was murdered by men from the Clan Stewart of Appin
  • Margaret Drummond (born circa 1354), married Sir Colin Campbell of Lochow
  • Sir John Drummond, 12th Thane of Lennox (1356 – 1428), married Elizabeth Sinclair
  • Mary Drummond (born 1357)
  • William Drummond, 1st Thane of Carnock (born 1358), married Elizabeth Airth
  • Jean Drummond (born 1362)

In 1367, Anabella married John Stewart, Earl of Carrick (the future Robert III, King of Scots), the eldest son of Robert II, King of Scots and his first wife Elizabeth Mure. The couple had seven children:

In 1388, two years before he became king, Anabella’s husband had been kicked by a horse and became an invalid. Robert II, King of Scots died in 1390 and Anabella’s husband John Stewart, Earl of Carrick became King of Scots. John decided to use Robert as his regnal name. He thought John was an unlucky name as evidenced by John Balliol, King of Scots, King John of England and Kings Jean I and II of France. Anabella was crowned with her husband Robert III, King of Scots at Scone on August 14, 1390 by William Trail, Bishop of St. Andrews.

As time went by, Robert III’s disabilities worsened and he fell into a state of depression. Supposedly, Robert told Anabella that he should be buried in a dung heap with an epitaph that read, “Here lies the worst of kings and the most miserable of men.” Anabella knew she had to take matters into her own hands to protect the rights of her son David, the heir to the throne. In 1398, Anabella arranged a tournament in Edinburgh at which her eldest surviving son 19-year-old David was knighted.  Later that same year, he was created Duke of Rothesay and Lieutenant of the Realm. Prior to David gaining more power, his paternal uncle Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany had held the power as protector of the kingdom.

In 1400, King Henry IV of England invaded Scotland and was able to reach Edinburgh where he laid siege to the castle, but eventually had to retreat because of the lack of supplies. The Scots had seemed powerless to respond to the English invasion. Anabella, Queen of Scots died in October 1401 at Scone Palace and was buried at Dunfermline Abbey. With the loss of his mother’s protection and his father too incapacitated to protect him, David, Duke of Rothesay fell prey to his uncle Robert’s machinations. David was accused unjustifiably of appropriating and confiscating funds and was arrested in 1402. He was imprisoned at Falkland Palace and died on March 26, 1402, at the age of 22, probably of starvation.

Wikipedia: Anabella Drummond

Works Cited

  • “Anabella Drummond”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.
  • Ashley, Michael. British Kings & Queens. 1st ed. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1998. Print.
  • “Clan Drummond”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.
  • “David Stewart, Duke Of Rothesay”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.
  • “Person Page”. Thepeerage.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.
  • “Robert III Of Scotland”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.
  • Williamson, David. Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell, 1996. Print.

Robert III, King of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

Robert III, King of Scots and his wife Anabella Drummond; Credit – Wikipedia

John Stewart, later Robert III, King of Scots, was born around 1337. He was the eldest child of Robert II, King of Scots and his mistress Elizabeth Mure. The couple married in 1346, but the marriage was not in agreement with the Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church. After receiving a papal dispensation, the couple remarried. The children born before their marriage were legitimized. Despite the legitimization of Elizabeth’s children, there were family disputes over her children’s right to the crown. John’s mother Elizabeth died before May 1355 when John was between 18 and 21 years old.

John had at least nine siblings:

John had four half-siblings from his father’s second marriage in 1355 to Euphemia de Ross:

John was created Earl of Carrick by his great uncle David II, King of Scots in 1368. In 1371, John’s father succeeded his uncle David II as Robert II, King of Scots, the first king of the House of Stewart (later Stuart). John was declared heir to the crown soon after his father’s accession.  In order to dispel all conflict among the children of his two marriages, Robert II had a succession act passed in Parliament in 1373. If the heir apparent John, Earl of Carrick died without sons, the succession would pass to his brother Robert, Duke of Albany and then to his younger brothers from Robert II’s two marriages in order of birth. As his reign progressed, Robert II delegated more power to his three eldest sons, John, Earl of Carrick and heir to the throne; Robert, Duke of Albany and Alexander, Earl of Buchan, who became his lieutenant in the north of Scotland.

In 1367, John married Anabella Drummond, Sir John Drummond of Stobhall, 11th Thane of Lennox and Chief of Clan Drummond and Mary de Montfichet, daughter and co-heiress with her sisters of Sir William de Montfichet, of Stobhall, Cargill, and Auchterarder. Sir John’s sister Margaret Drummond was the second wife of David II, King of Scots.

The couple had seven children:

In 1388, two years before he became king, John was kicked by a horse and became an invalid. Robert II, King of Scots died in 1390 and John Stewart, Earl of Carrick became King of Scots. John decided to use Robert as his regnal name. He thought John was an unlucky name as evidenced by John Balliol, King of Scots, King John of England and Kings Jean I and Jean II of France. Robert III, King of Scots and his wife Anabella were crowned at Scone on August 14, 1390 by William Trail, Bishop of St. Andrews. Because of his disability, Robert III delegated most of his power to his brother Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany.

As time went by, Robert III’s disabilities worsened and he fell into a state of depression. Supposedly, Robert told Anabella that he should be buried in a dung heap with an epitaph that read, “Here lies the worst of kings and the most miserable of men.” Anabella knew she had to take matters into her own hands to protect the rights of her son David, the heir to the throne. In 1398, Anabella arranged a tournament in Edinburgh at which her eldest surviving son 19-year-old David was knighted. Later that same year, he was created Duke of Rothesay and Lieutenant of the Realm.

Anabella, Queen of Scots died in October 1401 at Scone Palace and was buried at Dunfermline Abbey. With the loss of his mother’s protection and his father too incapacitated to protect him, David, Duke of Rothesay fell prey to his uncle Robert’s machinations. David was accused unjustifiably of appropriating and confiscating funds and was arrested in 1402. He was imprisoned at Falkland Palace and died on March 26, 1402, at the age of 22, probably of starvation.

Fearing for the safety of his only surviving son James (the future James I, King of Scots), Robert III decided to send him to France. However, the ship 12-year-old James was sailing on was captured on March 22, 1406 by English pirates who delivered James to King Henry IV of England. Robert III, King of Scots, aged 68, died at Rothesay Castle on April 4, 1406 after hearing of his son’s captivity and was buried at Paisley Abbey.

Paisley Abbey; Photo Credit – By © User:Colin / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28719655

Wikipedia: Robert III, King of Scots

Wives of Robert II, King of Scots: Elizabeth Mure and Euphemia de Ross, Queen of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

Robert II, King of Scots from the Forman Armorial produced for Mary, Queen of Scots; Credit – Wikipedia

Robert II, King of Scots, the first monarch of the House of Stewart, had two wives. Elizabeth Mure died before Robert became king and Euphemia de Ross was his only Queen Consort.

Elizabeth Mure

The first wife of Robert II, King of Scots, Elizabeth Mure was probably born at Rowallan Castle near Kilmaurs, a village in East Ayrshire, Scotland. Her parents were Sir Adam Mure of Rowallan and Janet Mure of Pokellie. Elizabeth died before her husband became king.

Rowallan Castle; Photo Credit – By VERNON MONAGHAN, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9552921

Robert Stewart, the future Robert II, King of Scots, was born in 1316. He was the only child of Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland and Marjorie Bruce, the daughter of Robert I the Bruce, King of Scots. Marjorie died in childbirth at age 19. She was thrown from her horse and went into premature labor and died soon after delivering her son Robert. Robert was heir presumptive to the throne of Scotland as his uncle David II, King of Scots, the son of Robert I’s second marriage, was childless. Upon the death of his father in 1327, Robert Stewart became the 7th High Steward of Scotland.

At first, Elizabeth was the mistress of Robert Stewart. The couple married in 1346, but the marriage was not in agreement with the Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church. After receiving a papal dispensation, the couple remarried. The children born before their marriage were legitimized. Despite the legitimization of Elizabeth’s children, there were family disputes over her children’s right to the crown.

Elizabeth and Robert’s daughter Jean Stewart and her second husband Sir John Lyon, Lord of Glamis had one son Sir John Lyon. Through him, Jean, and therefore Elizabeth Mure and Robert II, are ancestors of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, formerly Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.  The elder Sir John was a courtier and diplomat, who was appointed Keeper of the Privy Seal upon the accession of Robert II in 1371. The following year, Robert II granted him “the free barony of Glamuyss in the sheriffdom of Forfar.” Glamis has remained the seat of the family ever since. See Wikipedia: Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne for more information.

Elizabeth and Robert had at least ten children:

Elizabeth Mure died before May 1355 and was buried at Paisley Abbey in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland. Her eldest son, John Stewart, Earl of Carrick would eventually succeed to the throne upon the death of his father as Robert III, King of Scots.

********************

Euphemia de Ross, Queen of Scots

King Robert II of Scotland and Euphemia de Ross from the Forman Armorial produced for Mary, Queen of Scots; Credit – Wikipedia

Euphemia de Ross was the daughter and probably the only child of Hugh, 4th Earl of Ross and his second wife Margaret de Graham, daughter of Sir David de Graham of Montrose. Hugh’s first wife was Marjorie (or Matilda) Bruce, the sister of Robert I the Bruce, King of Scots. Hugh was a favorite of Robert I who granted him Cromarty Castle, a third of the lands of Kirkcudbright and lands in Skye, Strathglass, and Strathcona. Hugh was also one of the Scots nobles responsible for negotiating the marriage contract of David II, King of Scots, son and successor of Robert I, and Joan of the Tower, daughter of King Edward II of England. Hugh, 4th Earl of Ross was killed along many other Scottish nobles at the Battle of Halidon Hill on July 19, 1333

Euphemia had at least three half-siblings from her father’s first marriage:

Arms of Euphemia de Ross; Credit – By Sodacan – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38494578

Euphemia was first married to John Randolph, 3rd Earl of Moray. He was the son of Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray, a supporter of Robert the Bruce. John Randolph was an important figure in the reign of David II, King of Scots, and served as joint Regent of Scotland along with Robert Stewart, 7th High Steward of Scotland, Euphemia’s second husband. John was killed on October 17, 1346 at the Battle of Neville’s Cross leaving Euphemia a young, childless widow.

Nine years later, on May 2, 1355, Euphemia married Robert Stewart, 7th High Steward of Scotland. In 1357, Robert was granted the title Earl of Strathearn, so Euphemia was then the Countess of Strathearn. On February 22, 1371, upon the death of his childless nephew David II, King of Scots, Euphemia’s husband became Robert II, King of Scots, the first monarch of the House of Stewart, and Euphemia became Queen of Scots.

Euphemia and Robert had four children. The children of Robert II from both his marriages considered themselves the rightful heirs to the throne of Scotland, causing considerable family conflict.

Euphemia Stewart, Countess of Strathearn, granddaughter of Euphemia and Robert through their son David Stewart, Earl of Strathearn, is an ancestor of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother formerly Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. As an only child, Euphemia Stewart was heir to her father’s earldoms. She married Patrick Graham and their daughter Elizabeth married Sir John Lyon, 1st Master of Glamis, the son of Sir John Lyon who had married Jean Stewart, daughter of Robert II and Elizabeth Mure (see above). See Wikipedia: Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne for more information.

Euphemia de Ross, Queen of Scots died in 1386 and was buried at Paisley Abbey in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland. Her husband Robert II, King of Scots survived her by four years, dying on April 19, 1390.

Works Cited

  • “Aodh, 4. Earl Of Ross”. De.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
  • “David II, King Of Scots”. Unofficial Royalty. N.p., 2017. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
  • “Elizabeth Mure”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
  • “Euphemia De Ross”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
  • “Hugh, Earl Of Ross”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
  • “Person Page”. Thepeerage.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
  • “Robert I, King of Scots”.Unofficial Royalty. N.p., 2017. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
  • “Robert II Of Scotland”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.

Robert II, King of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

Robert II, King of Scots from Forman Armorial (produced for Mary, Queen of Scots); Credit – Wikipedia

The first monarch of the House of Stewart, Robert II, King of Scots, was born at Paisley Abbey on March 2, 1316. He was the only child of Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland and Marjorie Bruce, the daughter of Robert I the Bruce, King of Scots. His 19-year-old mother Marjorie had been riding in Paisley, Renfrewshire Scotland. Her horse was suddenly startled and threw her to the ground. Marjorie went into premature labor and her child Robert was delivered by caesarean section at the nearby Paisley Abbey. Sadly, Marjorie died within a few hours.

Robert’s father Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland gave his name to the Royal House of Stewart (later Stuart). The surname Stewart comes from the word steward, which means one who organizes the house of a king. The title of High Steward or Great Steward was given in the 12th century to Walter FitzAlan and shortly afterward, it was made a hereditary title. Walter FitzAlan’s grandson started to use Stewart as his surname. In 1371, Robert II, the 7th, and the last High Steward inherited the throne of Scotland. Since that time, the title of High (or Great) Steward of Scotland has been held as a subsidiary title of Duke of Rothesay and Baron of Renfrew, among the titles traditionally held by the heir apparent of Scotland. When James VI, King of Scots succeeded to the English throne upon the death of Queen Elizabeth I, those titles for the heir apparent came with James. Even today, The Prince of Wales holds the titles traditionally held by the English heir apparent, but also the traditional titles of the Scottish heir apparent: Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, Prince and Great Steward of Scotland.

Robert had three half-siblings from his father’s second marriage to Isabel de Graham, daughter of Sir Nicholas de Graham, Lord of Dalkeith and Abercorn and Mary of Strathearn

  • Sir John Stewart of Ralston, married Alicia Mure, had issue
  • Sir Andrew Stewart, no issue
  • Egidia Stewart, married (1) Sir James Lindsay, of Crawford, Lord of Crawford and Kirkmichael, had issue (2) Sir Hugh Eglinton, Laird of Aird Rosainb, Eglintoun and Ormdale (3) Sir James Douglas of Dalkeith

In 1318, two-year-old Robert was declared heir to the Scottish throne if his grandfather Robert I did not have any male issue. Six years later, Robert I and his second wife Elizabeth de Burgh had a son David, who became heir to the Scottish throne. Robert’s father Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland, died on April 9, 1326. He was buried at Paisley Abbey, alongside his first wife, Marjorie Bruce, and the previous five High Stewards. Ten-year-old Robert became the 7th High Steward of Scotland. The orphaned Robert was placed under the guardianship of his paternal uncle Sir James Stewart of Durrisdeer, who raised his nephew and served as his tutor.

On June 7, 1329, Robert’s grandfather Robert I the Bruce, King of Scots died at the age of 54 and was succeeded by his five-year-old son David II, King of Scots. Robert I’s funeral procession was led by a line of knights dressed in black which included Robert’s 13-year-old grandson, Robert Stewart, 7th High Steward of Scotland, the future Robert II, King of Scots, the son of his daughter Marjorie Bruce. In 1326, the Scottish Parliament had restored Robert Stewart to the line of succession in the event his uncle David, who was eight years younger, did not have any male heirs. At the time of his restoration to the succession, Robert received grants of land in Argyll, Roxburghshire, and the Lothians.

However, David II’s accession to the throne sparked another war, the Second War of Scottish Independence and Robert’s position as heir was threatened. The death of Robert I had weakened Scotland considerably and his successor David II was still a child. The year before he had died, Robert I had arranged for the marriage of his four-year-old David to the seven-year-old Joan of the Tower, youngest daughter of King Edward II of England, in hopes of strengthening relations with England.

However, in 1332-1333, David’s brother-in-law, King Edward III of England, invaded Scotland in support of Edward Balliol‘s claim to the Scots throne and defeated the Scots. Edward Balliol was the eldest son of John Balliol who had been King of Scots from 1292 – 1296. David and Joan sought refuge in France and remained there from 1334 until May of 1341 when David returned to Scotland and took control of the government. King Philip VI of France persuaded David to invade England. However, the Scots forces were defeated at the Battle of Neville’s Cross on October 17, 1346 and David was taken prisoner. He was held by the English for 11 years and was finally freed in 1357 by the Treaty of Berwick which stipulated that a large ransom be paid over the next 10 years. Robert Stewart played a major role in the Bruce resistance to Edward Balliol and acted as Guardian of the Kingdom (regent) during David II’s years in France and his imprisonment in England.

Battle of Neville’s Cross from a manuscript Froissart’s Chronicle; Credit – Wikipedia

Robert had two wives. Elizabeth Mure died before Robert became king and Euphemia de Ross was his only Queen Consort. At first, Elizabeth Mure was the mistress of Robert Stewart. The couple married in 1346, but the marriage was not in agreement with the Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church. After receiving a papal dispensation, the couple remarried. The children born before their marriage were legitimized. Despite the legitimization of Elizabeth’s children, there were family disputes over her children’s right to the crown.

Elizabeth and Robert’s daughter Jean Stewart and her second husband Sir John Lyon, Lord of Glamis had one son Sir John Lyon. Through him, Jean, and therefore Elizabeth Mure and Robert II, are ancestors of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, formerly Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.  The elder Sir John was a courtier and diplomat, who was appointed Keeper of the Privy Seal upon the accession of Robert II in 1371. The following year, Robert II granted him “the free barony of Glamuyss in the sheriffdom of Forfar.” Glamis has remained the seat of the family ever since. See Wikipedia: Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne for more information.

Elizabeth and Robert had at least ten children:

Elizabeth Mure died before May 1355 and was buried at Paisley Abbey in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland.

Robert II, King of Scots and Euphemia, Queen of Scots from Forman Armorial (produced for Mary, Queen of Scots); Credit – Wikipedia

Euphemia de Ross was the daughter and probably the only child of Hugh, 4th Earl of Ross and his second wife Margaret de Graham, daughter of Sir David de Graham of Montrose. On May 2, 1355, Euphemia married Robert Stewart, 7th High Steward of Scotland. In 1357, Robert was granted the title Earl of Strathearn, so Euphemia was then the Countess of Strathearn.

Euphemia and Robert had four children. The children of Robert II from both his marriages considered themselves the rightful heirs to the throne of Scotland, causing considerable family conflict.

Euphemia Stewart, Countess of Strathearn, granddaughter of Euphemia and Robert through their son David Stewart, Earl of Strathearn, is an ancestor of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother formerly Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. As an only child, Euphemia Stewart was heir to her father’s earldoms. She married Patrick Graham and their daughter Elizabeth married Sir John Lyon, 1st Master of Glamis, the son of Sir John Lyon who had married Jean Stewart, daughter of Robert II and Elizabeth Mure (see above). See Wikipedia: Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne for more information.

In the later years of his reign, David II, King of Scots continued to pursue peace with England and worked to make Scotland a stronger kingdom with a more prosperous economy. David II, aged 46, died unexpectedly on February 22, 1371 at Edinburgh Castle and was buried at Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh, now in ruins. As both his marriages were childless, David was succeeded by his nephew, his senior by eight years, the son of his half-sister Marjorie, who became Robert II, King of Scots, the first monarch of the House of Stewart.

Robert II, King of Scots was crowned at Scone on March 26, 1371 by William de Landallis, Bishop of St. Andrews. Immediately after his coronation, his eldest son John, Earl of Carrick, was recognized as the heir apparent. In order to dispel all conflict among the children of his two marriages, Robert II had a succession act passed in Parliament in 1373. If the heir apparent John, Earl of Carrick dies without sons, the succession would pass to Robert, Duke of Albany and then to his younger brothers from Robert II’s two marriages in order of birth. As his reign progressed, Robert II delegated more power to his three eldest sons, John, Earl of Carrick and heir to the throne; Robert, Duke of Albany and Alexander, Earl of Buchan, who became his lieutenant in the north of Scotland.

Dundonald Castle; Photo Credit – By Otter – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4506227

Fortunately, Robert II’s reign was more peaceful than previous reigns. Hostilities with England were renewed in 1378 and went on intermittently for the rest of Robert II’s reign. In 1384, when Robert II became senile, he left the administration of the kingdom to his eldest son John, Earl of Carrick.  Euphemia de Ross, Queen of Scots died in 1386 and was buried at Paisley Abbey in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland. Robert II, King of Scots survived his wife by four years, dying on April 19, 1390 at the age of 74 at Dundonald Castle in Ayrshire. He was buried at Scone Abbey. His son John, Earl of Carrick succeeded him as Robert III, King of Scots.

Wikipedia: Robert II of Scotland

Works Cited

  • “David II, King Of Scots”. Unofficial Royalty. N.p., 2017. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
  • “High Steward Of Scotland”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
  • “Robert I Of Scotland”. Unofficial Royalty. N.p., 2017. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
  • “Robert II Of Scotland”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
  • “Walter Stewart, 6Th High Steward Of Scotland : Genealogics”. Genealogics.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
  • “Walter Stewart, 6Th High Steward Of Scotland”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
  • Williamson, David. Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell, 1996. Print.
  • “Wives of Robert II: Elizabeth Mure and Euphemia de Ross”. Unofficial Royalty. N.p., 2017. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.

Margaret Drummond, Queen of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

The second wife of David II, King of Scots, Margaret Drummond was born in Perthshire, Scotland in about 1330. She was the daughter of Sir Malcolm Drummond, a minor Lennox and Perthshire lord, and his wife from the Graham family, possibly named Annabelle. In 1314, Sir Malcolm fought at the decisive Battle of Bannockburn, a landmark in Scottish history. Stirling Castle, a Scots royal fortress, occupied by the English, was under siege by the Scottish army. King Edward II of England, who was at the battle, assembled a formidable force to stop the siege. This attempt failed, and Edward II’s army was defeated by a smaller army commanded by Robert I the Bruce, King of Scots. Sir Malcolm is credited with the use of caltrops at the battle, a weapon made up of two or more sharp nails or spikes arranged in such a manner that one of them always points upward from a stable base to injure horses and unseat their riders. The caltrops were spread on the ground prior to the Battle of Bannockburn and were very effective against the English horses. After the battle, the Clan Drummond was given lands in Perthshire by Robert I the Bruce, King of Scots.  In memory of Malcolm’s feat, caltrops appear in many versions of the Drummond coat of arms and the Clan Drummond motto is “Gang Warily” (Go carefully).

Crest badge for Clan Drummond; Credit – CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17521683

Margaret had at least one sibling:

  • Sir John Drummond of Stobhall (born circa 1300 – died circa 1360), married Mary de Montfichet, daughter and co-heiress with her sisters of Sir William de Montfichet, of Stobhall, Cargill and Auchterarder, had issue including Annabelle Drummond who married John Stewart, Earl of Carrick (the future Robert III, King of Scots), son of Robert II, King of Scots

Sir Malcolm Drummond, a son of Margaret’s brother, obtained the clan home, Stobhall Castle, seen above, from Margaret after she became Queen of Scots; Photo Credit – By Andrew Mitchell, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9211639

Margaret first married Sir John Logie, and the couple had a son John of Logie, born about 1350. As very young children, David II, King of Scots, son of Robert I the Bruce, King of Scots from his second marriage, and Joan of the Tower, daughter of King Edward II of England, were married under the terms of the peace which ended the Wars of Scottish Independence which were fought between Scotland and England. The marriage was unhappy and childless, and David had mistresses. Around 1360, David and Margaret began an affair.

David II of Scotland (left) and Edward III of England(right); Credit – Wikipedia

In 1362, Joan of the Tower died, leaving David free to marry Margaret, who had lived with him for some time. Around 1363, either Margaret’s first husband died or her first marriage was annulled and David and Margaret made plans to marry. However, the marriage plans provoked a rebellion by supporters of David’s nephew and heir presumptive Robert Stewart, High Steward of Scotland. Robert was the only child of Marjorie Bruce, daughter of Robert the Bruce by his first wife Isabella of Mar. The rebels eventually submitted and on February 20, 1364, David and Margaret married at Inchmurdoch, the manor of the Bishop of St. Andrews near Crail, Scotland.

History has depicted Margaret as beautiful, but also arrogant and greedy. As Queen of Scots, Margaret received land in Perthshire and the customs revenue from Aberdeen and Inverkeithing. She also managed to procure royal lands in Annandale for her son John of Logie. Margaret pressed her husband into stripping his first cousin William, 5th Earl of Ross of his lands and title and briefly arresting his heir presumptive Robert Stewart, High Steward of Scotland.

By 1368, Margaret’s behavior and her failure to produce an heir had convinced David to annul their marriage. Instead, he planned to marry his current mistress Agnes Dunbar. David had the marriage annulled on March 20, 1369 on grounds of Margaret’s infertility. However, Margaret traveled to Avignon, in southern France, and made a successful appeal to the Pope Urban V to reverse the annulment which had been pronounced against her in Scotland. Since Margaret had a child in her first marriage, it seems likely that David himself was infertile, since his thirty-four-year marriage to his first wife was childless. David never did marry Agnes Dunbar. He died unexpectedly on February 22, 1371 at Edinburgh Castle and was buried at Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh, now in ruins. His nephew, the son of his half-sister Marjorie, succeeded him as Robert II, King of Scots, the first monarch of the House of Stewart. Around 1373, Margaret died in Marseilles, France. Pope Gregory XI paid for her funeral and burial. Her burial place is unknown, but it is assumed it is in France.

Wikipedia: Margaret Drummond, Queen of Scotland

Works Cited

  • “Clan Drummond”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 7 Apr. 2017.
  • “David II Of Scotland”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 7 Apr. 2017.
  • Ewan, Elizabeth et al. The Biographical Dictionary Of Scottish Women. 1st ed. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007. Print.
  • “Margaret Drummond: Genealogics”. Genealogics.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 7 Apr. 2017.
  • “Margaret Drummond, Queen Of Scotland”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 7 Apr. 2017.
  • “Marguerite Drummond”. Fr.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 7 Apr. 2017.

Elizabeth de Burgh, Queen of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

Born in Ireland around 1284, Elizabeth de Burgh was the second wife of Robert I (the Bruce), King of Scots and his only Queen Consort. Robert’s first wife Isabella of Mar died in childbirth before Robert became king. Elizabeth was the third of the ten children of Richard Óg de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster and 3rd Baron of Connaught and his wife Margaret, possibly his cousin Margaret de Burgh or Margaret de Guines.

Elizabeth had nine siblings:

Elizabeth’s father Richard Óg de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster and 3rd Baron of Connaught was one of the most powerful Irish nobles of his time. He was the friend and ally of King Edward I of England and ranked first among the Earls of Ireland. He played a leading role among the Anglo-Irish nobility, supporting the expansion of the Norman barons in Ireland at the expense of the ancestral territories of the Irish Gaelic. Despite the marriage of his daughter to Robert the Bruce, that did not stop him leading his forces from Ireland to support England’s King Edward I in his Scottish campaigns.

Through her father, Elizabeth was the descendant of the Irish Kings of Munster, Kings of Thomond, and also of the famous Brian Boru, High King of Ireland. Her father also had a line of descent from William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke, called William the Marshal, the Anglo-Norman soldier and statesman who served five English kings: Henry II, his sons Henry the Young King, Richard I, John, and John’s son Henry III.

Richard’s great granddaughter Elizabeth de Burgh, 4th Countess of Ulster married Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence who was the third, but second surviving son of King Edward III of England and was one of the two people on whom the House of York would base its claim to the English throne during the Wars of the Roses.

de Burgh Arms; Credit – By Sodacan – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27269486

Elizabeth probably met Robert the Bruce, who was then the Earl of Carrick, at the English court. Today, Earl of Carrick is one of the titles of the eldest living son and heir-apparent of the British sovereign. Along with Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick was one of the traditional titles of the eldest living son and heir-apparent of the throne of Scotland. When King James VI of Scotland also became King James I of England after the death of Queen Elizabeth I, the Scottish titles came along with him.

Elizabeth and Robert married at Writtle, near Chelmsford, Essex, England in 1302 when Elizabeth would have been about 18-years-old and Robert would have been about 28-years-old. This was the second marriage for Robert. His first wife Isabella of Mar died soon after giving birth to a daughter named Marjorie Bruce on December 12, 1296. Marjorie married Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland.  It was Marjorie’s son who succeeded to the Scots throne as King Robert II, the first monarch of the House of Stewart, after the death of Elizabeth and Robert the Bruce’s childless son King David II.

Robert the Bruce and Elizabeth de Burgh from Seton Armorial in the Nation Library of Scotland (MS Acc. 9309); Credit – Wikipedia

In 1302, when Elizabeth married Robert the Bruce, Scotland had been in political turmoil for some time. Alexander III, King of Scots (reigned 1249 – 1286) had only two surviving children, a son Alexander and a daughter Margaret who married King Eric II of Norway. Margaret of Scotland, Queen of Norway died in childbirth in 1283, giving birth to her only child Margaret, Maid of Norway. In 1284, the earls and barons of Scotland recognized Margaret, Maid of Norway as the heir to the throne of her grandfather King Alexander III of Scotland if he died without a male heir. Later that year, Alexander III’s 20-year-old Alexander died. When Alexander III died in 1286, his three-year-old granddaughter was the heir to his throne. The earls, barons, and clerics of Scotland met to select the Guardians of Scotland who would rule the kingdom for the rightful heir. In 1290, while on her way to Scotland, Margaret, Maid of Norway died.

The death of Margaret, Maid of Norway began a two-year interregnum in Scotland caused by the succession crisis. With Margaret’s death, the line of William I (the Lion), King of Scots became extinct and there was no obvious heir by primogeniture. Fifteen candidates presented themselves as candidates for the throne of Scotland.  The most prominent were John Balliol, great-grandson of William I’s younger brother David, Earl of Huntingdon, and Robert de Brus, 5th Lord of Annandale, David of Huntingdon’s grandson and the grandfather of Elizabeth’s husband.

The Scottish lords invited King Edward I of England to arbitrate the claims. Edward I agreed but forced the Scots to swear allegiance to him as their overlord. In 1292, it was decided that John Balliol should become King of Scots. After John Balliol became King, Robert, 5th Lord of Annandale resigned the lordship of Annandale and his claim to the throne to his eldest son Robert de Brus, the father of Elizabeth’s husband. Around the same time, Robert de Brus, 6th Lord of Annandale’s wife Marjorie, Countess of Carrick died and the Earldom of Carrick, which Robert had ruled jure uxoris (by right of his wife), devolved upon their eldest son, also called Robert, Elizabeth’s husband. John Balliol proved weak and incapable, and in 1296 was forced to abdicate by Edward I, who then attempted to annex Scotland into the Kingdom of England. For ten years, there was no monarch of Scotland.

The Scots refused to tolerate English rule and the result was the Wars of Scottish Independence, a series of military campaigns fought between Scotland and England, first led by William Wallace and after his execution, led by Robert the Bruce, Elizabeth’s husband. Robert the Bruce as Earl of Carrick and 7th Lord of Annandale, held estates and property in Scotland, a barony and some minor properties in England, and a strong claim to the throne of Scotland

On February 10, 1306, Robert the Bruce and his supporters killed a rival for the throne, John III Comyn, Lord of Badenoch at Greyfriars Church in Dumfries, Scotland. The bad blood between the two men went far back, and they had found it impossible to work together as Guardians of the Realm. Shortly after, Robert and his followers went to Scone, the traditional coronation site of the Kings of Scots. On March 27, 1306, Robert the Bruce was proclaimed Robert I, King of Scots and the crown was placed on his head by Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan “in the presence and with the consent of four bishops, five earls, and with the consent of the people.” According to tradition, the ceremony of crowning the monarch was performed by a representative of Clan MacDuff.

Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan, crowns Robert the Bruce at Scone in 1306 from a modern tableau at Edinburgh Castle; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

And so Elizabeth de Burgh was now Queen of Scots. However, she did not think she would be queen for long because she feared her husband would be defeated by Edward I. She supposedly said, “Alas, we are but king and queen of the May! ” Both Robert the Bruce and John Comyn had swore fealty to King Edward I of England. When Edward I heard that John Comyn had been murdered, he vowed “by the God of Heaven and these swans” to avenge Comyn’s death and the treachery of the Scots. On his demand, his knights took a similar oath, and they were sent off to Scotland to seek revenge.

In Scotland, Robert I, King of Scots was already engaged in a civil war with the family and friends of the murdered John Comyn. His coronation had given him some legitimacy, but his position was very uncertain. By the middle of June 1306, the English were in Perth, Scotland and were joined by supporters of John Comyn. Robert, abiding by the conventions of feudal warfare, invited the English commander to leave the walls of Perth and join him in battle, but the English commander declined to do so. Robert, believing that the English refusal to accept his challenge was a sign of weakness, moved his forces a few miles to nearby Methven, where he made camp for the night. Before dawn on June 19, 1306, Robert’s army was taken by surprise and almost destroyed. Robert barely escaped and fled with a few followers to the Scottish Highlands.

Elizabeth was not so lucky. After the Battle of Methven, under the protection of his brother Niall, Robert sent Elizabeth, his daughter Marjorie from his first marriage, his sisters Mary and Christina and Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan (who had crowned him) to Kildrummy Castle, the seat of the Earls of Mar, the family of his first wife Isabella of Mar. The English besieged Kildrummy Castle and Niall Bruce and all the men of the castle were hanged, drawn, and quartered. However, the women had escaped and sought sanctuary at St. Duthac’s Chapel in Tain, Scotland. The sanctuary was breached by William, Earl of Ross who had the women arrested and handed over to the English.

King Edward I of England sent his hostages to different places in England. Marjorie went to the convent at Watton, Yorkshire and her aunt Christina Bruce was sent to another convent. Marjorie’s aunt Mary Bruce and Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan were imprisoned in wooden cages and exposed to public view. Mary’s cage was at Roxburgh Castle and Isabella’s was at Berwick Castle. Marjorie, Mary, and Christina were finally set free around 1314 – 1315, probably in exchange for English noblemen captured after the Battle of Bannockburn in June 1314. There is no mention of Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan in the records, so she probably died in captivity.

 The punishment of Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan

Queen Elizabeth’s punishment was lighter than that of the other women because King Edward I needed the support of her father, the powerful Earl of Ulster. She was imprisoned for eight years by the English and was moved around quite a bit:

After the Scots’ victory at the Battle of Bannockburn where they routed the English in June 1314, Elizabeth was moved to York while prisoner exchange talks took place and where she had an audience with King Edward II of England who had succeeded his father in 1307. Finally, in November 1314, she was moved to Carlisle, close to the Scots border, just before the exchange and her return to Scotland.  Because of the turmoil in Scotland and Elizabeth’s imprisonment, Robert and Elizabeth did not have any children until after her return to Scotland in 1314.

Elizabeth and Robert had four children:

  • Margaret (born between 1315 and 1323 – March 30, 1346), William de Moravia, 5th Earl of Sutherland, had one son John who died of the plague at age 20, Margaret died in childbirth
  • Matilda (born between 1315 and 1323 – July 30, 1353), married Thomas Isaac, had two daughters
  • David II, King of Scots (March 5, 1324 – February 22, 1371), twin of John, married (1) Joan of The Tower, daughter of King Edward II of England, no issue (2) Margaret Drummond, no issue
  • John (March 5, 1324 – before 1327), younger twin of David, died young

Elizabeth died on October 27, 1327 at Cullen Castle in Banffshire, Scotland, aged about 43-years-old. She was buried at Dunfermline Abbey in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, the resting place of many Kings and Queens of Scots. Robert I, King of Scots died 18 months later and was buried next to his wife. In 1560, Dunfermline Abbey was sacked by the Calvinists during the Scottish Reformation and Elizabeth and Robert’s tomb was destroyed. During construction work on the new abbey in 1819, Robert’s coffin was discovered and then Elizabeth’s coffin was rediscovered in 1917. Both coffins were re-interred in the new abbey.

Victorian brass plate covering the tomb of Robert Bruce and Elizabeth de Burgh; Photo Credit – By Otter – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5117548

Wikipedia: Elizabeth de Burgh

Works Cited

  • Ashley, Michael. British Kings & Queens. 1st ed. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1998. Print.
  • “Battle Of Methven”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 3 Apr. 2017.
  • Dodson, Aidan. The Royal Tombs Of Great Britain. 1st ed. London: Duckworth, 2004. Print.
  • “Elizabeth De Burgh”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 3 Apr. 2017.
  • “Richard Óg De Burgh, 2Nd Earl Of Ulster”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 3
  • “Robert The Bruce”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 3 Apr. 2017.
  • Williamson, David. Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell, 1996. Print.