David II of Scotland Biography

(King of Scots from 1329 to 1371)

Birthday: March 1, 1324 (Pisces)

Born In: Dunfermline, Scotland

David II of Scotland was a Scottish King who inherited the throne after the death of his father, King Robert I, in 1329 and ruled until his death in 1371. As he was a minor, his early reign was governed by several Scottish nobles, and later, was marred by a lengthy exile and imprisonment. While his father, a great warrior, had secured Scottish sovereignty at the end of the First War of Scottish Independence, it is often said about David II that during his reign Scotland came close to losing that sovereignty. However, considering the fact that he had inherited the throne at the age of five and spent much of his childhood in exile in France, he did leave the kingdom and its economy in a better position than was expected from his war-torn rule. He was the last male of the House of Bruce; after his death, the line of succession passed to the House of Stewart. He was succeeded by Robert II, his nephew and the son of his half-sister Marjorie Bruce.
Quick Facts

Died At Age: 46


Spouse/Ex-: Margaret Drummond, Queen of Scotland (m. 1364), Joan of the Tower (m. 1328–1362)

father: Robert I of Scotland

mother: Elizabeth de Burgh

siblings: Marjorie Bruce

Born Country: Scotland

Emperors & Kings Scottish Men

Died on: February 1, 1371

place of death: Edinburgh, Scotland

Childhood & Early Life
David II of Scotland was born on March 5, 1324, at Dunfermline Abbey in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, to King Robert I or Robert the Bruce of Scotland and his second wife, Elizabeth de Burgh.
He lost his mother on October 27, 1327, at the age of three, and his father on June 7, 1329, when he was five years and three months old.
When the Treaty of Edinburgh–Northampton was signed by his father in 1328, Joanna or Joan of the Tower, the sister of underage Edward III of England, was promised in marriage to David II. The marriage took place at Berwick-upon-Tweed on July 17 that same year, when he was only four years old and she was just seven.
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Accession & Reign
Five-year-old David II of Scotland inherited the throne after his father died in 1329, and was crowned, along with his wife, on November 24, 1331, at Scone. However, being a minor, he was put under the guardianship of Sir Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray, by the Act of Settlement of 1318.
Moray died on July 20, 1332, followed by the new regent, Donald, Earl of Mar, who died ten days later, following which his uncle Sir Andrew Murray of Bothwell became the new guardian.
After Murray was taken prisoner by the English at Roxburgh in April 1333, Sir Archibald Douglas served as the new guardian until his death at Halidon Hill in July that year.
King Edward III of England, who considered the peace treaty to be humiliating, supported Edward Balliol, a pretender to the throne of Scotland, and crowned him the Scottish King on September 24, 1332.
While Balliol was forced to flee to England three months later, he was restored by the English King following his win at the Battle of Halidon Hill in July 1333.
To ensure their safety, David and Joanna were sent to France where King Philip VI gracefully received them in May 1334, and let them reside in Château Gaillard. David was in attendance when the English and French armies met in October 1339 at Vironfosse.
After his supporters regained primary control of Scotland, David, now 17 years old, returned to his kingdom on June 2, 1341, and began his personal reign. In 1346, when France became involved in a war with England in Normandy, he invaded England to support France.
He successfully invaded Hexham, a parish in Northumberland, but was defeated at the Battle of Neville's Cross on October 17, 1346, where he was wounded and captured. Sir John de Coupland initially held him captive in the Tower of London before Edward III moved him to Windsor Castle in Berkshire after returning from France.
He was later moved again to Odiham Castle in Hampshire and spent 11 years in captivity in England until a treaty was signed with the Scottish regency council at Berwick-upon-Tweed on October 3, 1357. As per the treaty, the Scottish estates agreed to pay 100,000 marks over ten years.
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He returned from England with a mistress, Katherine Mortimer, which was not taken well by the Scottish nobles, eventually resulting in Katherine's murder in 1360. Moreover, the impoverished kingdom found it difficult to gather the 10,000 marks ransom money for the year 1363.
David decided to offer his throne to the English King or his successors if he died childless, following which Edward III proposed that his third son, Lionel, Duke of Clarence, would inherit the Scottish throne.
The decision was renounced by the Scottish Parliament and soured David's relationship with his nephew, who would later succeed him as Robert II; however, David was able to appease Edward with secret negotiations.
Later Life & Death
David II of Scotland was childless in his marriage with Queen Joan, who died on September 7, 1362, at Hertford Castle, Hertfordshire, presumably from the plague.
He married Margaret Drummond, widow of Sir John Logie and daughter of Sir Malcolm Drummond, in February 1364, but this marriage was also childless and he divorced her in March 1370 on grounds of infertility.
From 1364 onwards, he had a prosperous rule during which he successfully dealt with a revolt by his nephew, further attempted to broker peace with England and made his kingdom stronger and the treasury richer.
He suddenly died on February 22, 1371, in Edinburgh Castle, and was buried in Holyrood Abbey, following which his nephew, Robert II, inherited the throne.
Based on monetary records, it is assumed that he was planning to marry his mistress, Agnes Dunbar, the niece of Agnes Randolph, at the time of his death. His second wife Drummond, who had a child from her first marriage indicating that David himself was infertile, travelled to Avignon and successfully appealed to the pope to reverse the sentence of divorce.
David II of Scotland has been mentioned in historical novels like 'Cressy and Poictiers; or, the Story of the Black Prince's Page' by John George Edgar, 'Flowers of Chivalry' by Nigel Tranter, and 'Vagabond' by Bernard Cornwell. However, the depiction of his meeting with King Edward III in the play 'The Reign of King Edward the Third', posthumously attributed to Elizabethan playwright William Shakespeare, is fictitious.

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