Died At Age: 69
Also Known As: John Stewart, Robert III
Born Country: Scotland
Born in: Scone Palace, Perth, Scotland
Famous as: King of Scotland
Emperors & Kings
Spouse/Ex-: Anabella Drummond (m. 1367)
father: Robert II of Scotland
mother: Elizabeth Mure
children: Egidia Stewart, James I of Scotland, James Stewart of Kilbride, Lady Elizabeth Stewart, Lady Mary Stewart, Margaret Stewart, Robert Stewart, Sir John Stewart
Died on: April 4, 1406
place of death: Rothesay Castle, Rothesay, United Kingdom
Cause of Death: Heart Attack
Who was Robert III of Scotland?
Robert III of Scotland was the King of Scotland who ruled from 1390 until his death in 1406. He was born as John Stewart to Robert II and Elizabeth Mure, and was legitimized following their marriage in 1347. During 1362-63, he joined his father in a failed insurrection against his uncle David II. Following the death of Kind David in 1371, Stewart’s father became the king. He was appointed his lieutenant in 1384 and later ascended the throne as Robert III upon his father’s death in 1390. He, however, became powerless soon as the majority of the power went to his younger brother Robert, Duke of Albany. After a battle with Albany's Douglas allies, Robert III’s only surviving son James tried to escape to France but was captured by Henry IV of England. The aging King Robert III died shortly after his son’s imprisonment in 1406.
Childhood & Early Life
Robert III of Scotland was born as John Stewart in 1337/40 to Robert II and his mistress Elizabeth Mure. He and his nine siblings were legitimized after his parents' marriage in November 1347.
In the 1350s, Stewart led a campaign to rule over English-occupied territories. He alongside his father Robert II battled against his uncle David II in 1363. However, they lost to him.
In 1367, Stewart married Anabella Drummond. A year later, he was made Earl of Carrick by David II.
After David II’s death in 1371, his father was crowned the king and with his coronation, Stewart earned the title of Steward of Scotland.
After 1373, Stewart’s younger brother Robert, Earl of Monteith, received the Earldom of Fife.
On 24 October 1378, Stewart became a father for the first time when his son David was born.
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Guardianship & Eventual Collapse
John Stewart’s father’s efforts earned him much power in the magnate south of the Forth-Clyde line. On the other hand, Alexander, Earl of Buchan, his younger brother, became powerful in the north.
Buchan's ruling principles drew criticism from the north and his father Robert II was eventually blamed for this.
In November 1384, a general council meeting was held where Stewart, who was then-Carrick, was declared the Guardian of Scotland. The following year, Stewart was blamed for taking an unauthorized payment of £700 in bullion. His misuse of the crown finances angered his brother Robert, Earl of Fife, and the future Duke of Albany.
As a guardian, Stewart also failed to bring Buchan under control, and by 1387, the latter had become even more powerful.
In August 1388, the Scottish army conquered the English at the Battle of Otterburn. However, the battle resulted in the death of Scottish leader Earl of Douglas.
Soon, Robert, Earl of Fife, joined hands with Sir Archibald Douglas and their armies teamed up against Stewart.
In December 1388, the general council transferred Stewart’s guardianship to Robert, Earl of Fife. His son, Murdoch Stewart, eventually became justiciar, the title Buchan had held until this time.
Reign, Decline of Power & Death
After his father Robert II’s death in 1390, John Stewart ascended the throne and changed his name to “Robert III.”
Under his reign, he strengthened his son David, now Earl of Carrick’s position and helped him establish his own household.
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In 1393, Robert III regained his right to direct rule after Robert, Earl of Fife’s lieutenancy came to an end.
The king also strengthened Red Douglas Earl of Angus in the country’s southeast to maintain his power in front of Fife's Black Douglas ally.
His son David, Earl of Carrick, soon took control in the south-west. In the general council held in 1398, Robert III was criticized for his failure to appease the Gaelic areas in north and west.
As a result, his brother Robert, Earl of Fife, was made the Duke of Albany. His son David eventually acquired the title of the Duke of Rothesay.
In early 1399, Robert III was forced to surrender his power to his son David, the Duke of Rothesay, for three years.
Soon, Rothesay developed a tiff with George Dunbar, Earl of March, when he decided to marry the daughter of the Earl of Douglas, Mary Douglas, instead of marrying Elizabeth Dunbar. His decision also made him an opponent of March’s friend Henry IV.
In 1402, Rothesay was imprisoned in Albany's castle where he eventually died. After his death, Robert III was excluded from political authority. He, however, re-established himself and tried to protect his only surviving son and heir, James, now Earl of Carrick, from Albany.
Around 1405, he sent James to France. Unfortunately, James was captured by Henry IV of England. King Robert III died on 4 April 1406.
Family & Personal Life
In 1367, Robert III married Anabella Drummond, the daughter of Sir John Drummond of Stobhall. They had seven children, including David Stewart, James I Stewart, Margaret, Mary, Egidia, and Elizabeth.
He also had two illegitimate sons, James Stewart of Kilbride and John Stewart of Ardgowan and Blackhall.