The Stuarts: Robert II (1316-1390) biography - Scotland Magazine
Great Scots

The Stuarts: Robert II (1316-1390) biography

We survey the reigns of the Stuart kings and queens that saw Scotland rise above its clan divisions and move towards a future as rulers of the United Kingdom

Credit: Florilegius/Alamy

A difficult birth at Paisley Abbey, west of Glasgow, sadly led to Robert’s mother Marjorie’s death. It is also thought to have been the cause of the future king’s visual impairment, for which he was nicknamed ‘King Blearie’. Nevertheless, he grew into a charming man that attracted many love interests; Robert had about 21 children to two wives and numerous mistresses. Though many were illegitimate, his prolificacy did much to strengthen the position of the family within Scotland, with the Stewarts holding more than half of the nation’s earldoms during his reign (1371-1390).

Made High Steward of Scotland at just 10 years old after the death of his father, Walter, Robert wasn’t made king until he was 54, when David II died aged 46. In the end his was a nominal kingship. His sons took the reigns while his daughters were strategically married off to powerful families; Isabella to a Douglas and Margaret to the Lord of the Isles. Robert died aged 74 and his eldest son John succeeded him.

Credit: Michael A Hill

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