Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Robert II of Scotland

Robert Stuart, the first Stuart king, was born on March 2, 1316.  Robert succeeded David II, who was the last ruler of the direct Bruce line.  Walter Scott covers Stewart's accession to the throne in his "Tales of a Grandfather".

"As David the Second died childless, the male line of his father, the great Robert Bruce, was at end. But the attachment of the Scottish nation naturally turned to the line of that heroic prince, and they resolved to confer the crown on a grandson of his by the mother's side. Marjory, the daughter of Robert Bruce, had married Walter, the Lord High Steward of Scotland, and the sixth of his family who had enjoyed that high dignity, in consequence of possessing which the family had acquired the surname of Stewart. This Walter Stewart, with his wife Marjory, were ancestors of that long line of Stewarts who afterwards ruled Scotland, and came at length to be Kings of England also. The last King of the Stewart family lost his kingdoms at the great national Revolution in 1688, and his son and grandsons died in exile. The female line have possession of the crown at this moment, in the person of our sovereign, King George the Fourth. When, therefore, you hear of the line of Stewart, you will know that the descendants of Walter Stewart and Marjory Bruce are the family meant by that term. It is said, that the Stewarts were descended from Fleance, the son of Banquo, whose posterity the witches declared were to be Kings of Scotland, and who was murdered by Macbeth. But this seems a very doubtful tradition.

Walter, the Steward of Scotland, who married Bruce's daughter, was a gallant man, and fought bravely at Bannockburn, where he had a high command. But he died young, and much regretted. Robert Stewart, his son by Marjory Bruce, grandson, of course, of King Robert, was the person now called to the throne. He was a good and kind-tempered prince. When young he had been a brave soldier; but he was now fifty-five years old, and subject to a violent inflammation in his eyes, which rendered them as red as blood. From these reasons he lived a good deal retired, and was not active enough to be at the head of a fierce and unmanageable nation like the Scots.

Robert Stewart's ascent to the throne was not unopposed, for it was claimed by a formidable competitor. This was William Earl of Douglas. That family, in which so many great men had arisen, was now come to a great pitch of power and prosperity, and possessed almost a sovereign authority in the south parts of Scotland. The Earl of Douglas was on the present occasion induced to depart from his claim, upon his son being married with Euphemia, the daughter of Robert II. Stewart therefore was crowned without farther opposition..."

No comments:

Post a Comment