Kings and Queens of Scotland Part Two

Lydia Kendall

Mary’s arms as Queen of Scotland and France, with the arms of England, added, used in France before the Treaty of Edinburgh, 1560. Image source: Wikipedia

Hello, my lovely lads and lassies,

In the previous part, my dear friend Maddie MacKenna talked about the Kings and the Queens of Scotland from the very beginning, at 843A.C. towards the death of Margaret, Maid of Norway. 

We talked of the first Kings of Scots, Macbeth and Duncan from the famous tale of William Shakespeare, etc. Now, we move on forward through history with the rest of the notorious Kings and Queens of our favorite Scotland.

Let’s move on, shall we? 


House of Balliol – John Balliol 

John Balliol and his wife. Image source: Wikipedia.

After the death of Margaret, Scotland started a two year interregnum, during which several of the heirs of the throne put forward their claims. The one who actually made the decision was King Edward I of England, who chose John Balliol as the King of Scots. 

John Balliol was famously known as Toom Tabard (meaning “empty coat”), and reigned for only 4 years (from 1292 to 1296). King Edward’s personal influence tainted Balliol’s reign, since he treated Scotland as a vassal for England. 

The Scottish Nobility deposed Balliol and appointed a Council of Twelve to rule instead. In retaliation to a French-Scottish alliance, King Edward invaded Scotland, which started the war for Scottish Independence. After a defeat in 1296, Balliol abdicated the throne, and Scotland was left without a King for 10 whole years!


House of Bruce – Robert the Bruce

Bust of Robert the Bruce at the National Wallace Monument. Image source: Wikipedia

Robert the Bruce is one of the most notorious Kings of Scotland, and is still thought of as a national hero. 

In 1306 at Greyfriars Church Dumfries, Robert I the Bruce murdered his only possible rival for the throne, John Comyn. He was excommunicated for this sacrilege, but was still crowned King of the Scots just a few months later.

He was the first King after 10 years in Scotland. His grandfather, Robert de Brus, 5th Lord of Annandale, was one of the many lords to have laid claim on the Scottish throne after the death of Margaret. 

Robert was defeated in his first two battles against the English and became a fugitive. Whilst hiding in a cave he watched a spider attempt to anchor its web. It failed six times, but at the seventh attempt, succeeded. Bruce took this to be an omen and resolved to struggle on. His decisive victory against Edward II‘s army at Bannockburn in 1314 finally won the freedom he had struggled for.

Despite the claims on the throne, Edward II still refused to recount his claim on the overthrone of Scotland. This urged the Scottish nobility to submit the Declaration of Arbroath to Pope John XXII, declaring Robert as their rightful monarch and asserting Scotland’s status as an independent kingdom.


House of Stewart/Stuart

Coat of arms of the last Stuart monarch Anne, Queen of Great Britain, 1707–1714. Image source: Wikipedia. 

The Stuart House is one of the most infamous Houses and families in Scotland and were the ones who fueled the Jacobite cause (Outlander vibes, anyone?). 

The Jacobite rising of 1745, also known as the Forty-five Rebellion or simply the ’45 (Scottish Gaelic: Bliadhna Theàrlaich “The Year of Charles”), was an attempt by Charles Edward Stuart to regain the British throne for his father, James Francis Edward Stuart.

Apart from Charles Stuart, there is another person who I believe is important to mention in this article. 


Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary, Queen of Scots beheaded. Image source. 

Known as Mary Stuart, or Mary I of Scotland, she reigned from 1542 until 1567. The weirdest part? She was only 6 days old when she took over the throne, after her father died!

She was married thrice, with her second husband murdered by the third one (even though it is not proven). Married to her third husband, she found herself imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle, because the Lords of Congregation did not approve of the liaison. 

She was forced to abdicate in favor of her one-year-old son. She tried to reclaim the throne but failed, which resulted in her seeking the protection of her first cousin once removed, Queen Elizabeth I of England. 

Having claimed Elizabeth’s throne as her own before, she was considered the legitimate heir to the English throne by many English Catholics, including participants in a rebellion known as the Rising of the North. After almost 19 years of confinement inside various castles, Mary was found guilty of trying to assassinate Elizabeth in 1586 and was beheaded the following year. 

What a tragic tale and an even more tragic ending, don’t you think?

Well, my lads and lasses, these are, in my humble opinion, the most notorious Kings and Queens of Scotland. 

Which one do you think would be the most interesting to have a cup of tea with? 

Let me know in the comments!

Until next time…

Written by Lydia Kendall

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