King Robert

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The only Kings to have been named Robert in the British Isles have been the three in the Kingdom of Scotland before the Union of the crowns, of 1603. There have been others, in France (Robert I (c. 865–923) and Robert II, 'the Pious', (972–1031), forming part of the Robertian dynasty), and in Naples (Robert 'the Wise' (1277–1343)).

Robert I

Born 1274; married 1) Isabel of Mar (d. before 1302), and 2) Elizabeth de Burgh (d. 1327); declared himself King in 1306, after the interregnum created by the abdication of John Balliol; died 1329; succeeded by his son, David II.

Robert 'the Bruce' was the great warrior who established the independence of the kingdom of the Scots, above all by his crushing victory over the forces of Edward II at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Because of his heroic status, he is the subject of many legends told by Scots. Robert the Bruce had inherited the claim to the throne of his grandfather, Robert (V) de Brus, the claimant who lost to John Balliol in 1292. Before King Robert's bold seizure of the throne, his principal rival was Sir John Comyn of Badenoch, whom he killed in the Greyfriars Church at Dumfries in 1306, thus committing sacrilege as well as murder, for which he promised penance all his life. (See Murder of Comyn - the legend for a good but untrue story.) Bruce was absolved by the Archbishop of Glasgow, and crowned (in a pre-Christian tradition by Isobel, Countess of Mar) at Scone in March. Several defeats followed, and the king fled with a few - perhaps under a dozen - followers, to the west, either Ireland or the Hebrides. (It is here that the legend of the spider is set.) Bruce returned to the mainland in 1307 and began to take castles from the English. With the death of Edward I in that year, he could control Scotland, calling his first parliament in 1309. After Bannockburn, he continued the Scottish Wars of Independence, until, with the deposition and death of Edward II in 1327 they came to an end with the Treaty of Edinburgh. The biggest flaw in Robert I's reign was to leave the kingdom to a minor, David II, who was only 5 years old at the death of his father. The Bruce's body is buried in Dunfermline Abbey, while his heart is buried in Melrose Abbey. His embalmed heart was to be taken on crusade by his lieutenant and friend Sir James Douglas to the Holy Land, but only reached Moorish Granada, where it acted as a talisman for the Scottish contingent at the Battle of Teba (1330) - although it is said that all the Scots died around it.
Robert II

Born 1316 to Marjorie, daughter of Robert I, and Walter Stewart; married first Elizabeth Mure (d. c. 1355) in about 1349 (they had children before this date); and, after her death, Euphemia Ross, widowed Countess of Moray (?1329-1388/9) in 1355; succeeded his uncle David II in 1371; died 1390.

Till he was 55, Robert Stewart's life was comparatively aimless. Nominated as heir apparent to his grandfather, the Bruce, in 1318, he was replaced by the King's own son - his uncle - David II in 1324. David, aged 5, was crowned in 1329, and reigned for the following 42 years, many in captivity. Robert's father, Walter, the hereditary Steward of Scotland, died in 1327, his mother having died close to his own birth in 1316. He was close to government for much of the time, even being Guardian (Regent) for some of it; but on David's release in 1357, Robert rose in revolt, and was only bought off when David treated John Stewart, Robert's eldest son (later Robert III), as the heir apparent - a position which continued after David's unexpected death, just before a projected marriage, in 1371, put Robert II on the throne. Though Robert has often been characterized as an unsuccessful king, his reign was peaceful and not unprosperous, and he may have been traduced by political opponents, and the chroniclers. He outlived his strength and fortune, dying at the great age for those times of 74, by which time he was under the Guardianship of his son, then the Earl of Carrick, later Robert III.
Robert III

Born between 1335 and 1339, and baptized John; married Annabella Drummond (d. 1401) in 1366 or 1367; succeeded his father Robert II in 1390; died 1406; succeeded by his son James I.

Robert III had waited long to become king, first during the long reign of David II. and then for the rest of his father's (Robert II) life. He was perhaps around 50 when he came to the throne - old in an age when kings were still expected to lead armies. He took the name of Robert, rather than his own name John, it has been suggested, because the name of King John had been attached to unsuccessful kings of both England and Scotland. He had been created 9th Earl of Carrick (a title borne by his illustrious grandfather) and Steward of Scotland by the time of his father's coronation in 1371, which might have boded well; but there was already bickering between him and his brother (oddly, baptized Robert), who became successively Earl of Menteith, Earl of Fife (by marriage) and Duke of Albany. Robert had been Guardian of Scotland during his father's reign, and had been removed from that position for 'infirmity' - and for ten of the sixteen years of his reign, he was not in command of the kingdom. His reign is marked by the ongoing struggles between the great families of Scotland that were to trouble the kingdom always. His heir apparent, David Duke of Rothesay, died while in the custody of the Duke of Albany, and Robert was succeeded by his third, and only surviving, son James I.