Robert the Bruce Biography

(King of Scotland)

Birthday: July 11, 1274 (Cancer)

Born In: Turnberry Castle, Scotland

Robert I, popularly known as Robert the Bruce, was the king of Scotland from 1306 to 1329. He led his nation against England during the First War of Scottish Independence and emerged as one of the most popular warriors of his generation. Descending from the Gaelic and Anglo-Norman nobility, Robert the Bruce was born as the eldest son to Marjorie, Countess of Carrick, and Robert de Brus, 6th Lord of Annandale. As the earl of Carrick from 1292 to 1306, he participated in William Wallace's battle against Edward I of England. Later, he was appointed as a guardian of Scotland. At the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, Robert the Bruce defeated Edward II’s much larger English army and re-established an independent Scottish kingdom. He spent his last years in the village of Cardross, where he died in June 1329, at the age of 54. During his lifetime, Robert the Bruce married twice and fathered six children from his marriages. He also had many illegitimate children from unknown mothers, including Sir Robert Bruce. Upon his death, he was succeeded by his son David II as the king of Scots.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Robert I, Robert I of Scotland

Died At Age: 54


Spouse/Ex-: Elizabeth de Burgh (m. 1302–1327), Isabella of Mar (m. 1296–1296)

father: Robert de Brus, 6th Lord of Annandale

mother: Countess of Carrick, Marjorie

siblings: Alexander Bruce Earl of Carrick, Alexander de Brus, Christina Bruce, Edward Bruce, Elizabeth Bruce, Isabel Bruce, Margaret Bruce, Mary Bruce, Matilda Bruce, Nigel de Brus, Thomas de Brus

children: David II of Scotland, Elizabeth Bruce, Margaret Bruce, Marjorie Bruce, Matilda Bruce, Niall Bruce of Carrick, Robert Bruce; Lord of Liddesdale

Born Country: Scotland

Leaders Emperors & Kings

Died on: June 7, 1329

place of death: Cardross, Scotland

Childhood & Early Life
Robert the Bruce was born on 11 July 1274, in Turnberry Castle, Ayrshire, to Marjorie, Countess of Carrick, and Robert de Brus, 6th Lord of Annandale. He had four brothers: Alexander, Thomas, Edward, and Neil.
His mother was a formidable woman who, according to legends, kept his father captive until he married her. Robert the Bruce became trilingual in his early years by learning the Anglo-Norman language, the Gaelic language, and the early Scots language.
At a young age, he was schooled in the arts of swordsmanship, horsemanship and also in aspects of courtly behaviour, dance, music, etc.
His family is known to have moved between the many castles of their lordships, including the Lochmaben Castle and the Turnberry and Loch Doon Castle.
In 1292, Edward I of England awarded the vacant crown of Scotland to John Balliol following ‘The Great Cause.’ This led Robert the Bruce’s grandfather Robert de Brus, 5th Lord of Annandale, to transfer his claim to the throne to his son Robert de Brus, 6th Lord of Annandale, who in turn gave up his earldom of Carrick to Robert the Bruce. However, the bid to the throne ended in failure.
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Earl of Carrick (1292-1306)
On 26 March 1296, Edward I’s army launched a surprise attack on Carlisle. In August that year, Robert the Bruce and his father swore an oath of fealty to Edward I and started the Scottish revolt against him in July 1297. However, Robert left Carlisle with the outbreak of the revolt and moved to Annandale.
In 1298, William Wallace resigned as the guardian of Scotland and Robert the Bruce and John Comyn joined in as joint guardians. Two years later, Bruce resigned as a joint guardian.
In 1302, he submitted to King Edward I after the latter launched his campaign into Scotland and captured the castles of Turnberry and Bothwell. Three years later, Edward I ordered Bruce to put his castle at Kildrummy as he suspected his intentions.
Robert the Bruce, as the earl of Carrick and 7th Lord of Annandale, captured major estates in Scotland. In February 1306, he stabbed Comyn before the high altar after the later betrayed his agreement with him.
Early Reign (1306-14)
In March 1306, Robert the Bruce was crowned the king of Scots on Palm Sunday. The crown lifting was done by Bishop William de Lamberton.
After his defeat at the Battle of Methven in June 1306, his wife and daughters were sent to Kildrummy where they were guarded by his brother Neil.
On 7 July, 1306 Edward I died, leaving Robert the Bruce opposed by his son, Edward II. In April that year, Bruce won the Battle of Glen Trool and later won the Battle of Loudoun Hill.
He later captured Inverlochy and Urquhart Castles and ordered The Harrying of Buchan in 1308 to ensure elimination of the Comyn family. Soon, he crossed to Argyll and won over the isolated MacDougalls at the Battle of Pass of Brander.
In March 1309, Robert the Bruce held his first parliament at St. Andrews. By 1314, he had recaptured most of the castles held by the English.
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On 23 June 1314, he began The Battle of Bannockburn and eventually defeated the army of King Edward II of England, killing several prominent commanders, including Sir Robert Clifford.
Mid-reign (1314-20)
In 1315, Robert the Bruce expanded his war against the English by invading Ireland under his younger brother Edward’s army.
The campaign started as a conflict between the Irish and the Anglo-Normans with Bruce supporting the former to drive out the latter in return of his brother being crowned the High King of Ireland.
Although Edward was later made the king in 1316, his brother’s campaign failed to defeat the non-Ulster chiefs. The campaign ended in 1318 with Edward's defeat and death in the Battle of Faughart.
Later Reign (1320-28)
The later period of Robert the Bruce’s reign included some considerable diplomatic achievements. In 1320, the Declaration of Arbroath strengthened his position principally in relation to Pope John XXII.
In May 1328, he was recognised as the king of the independent Scotland after King Edward III signed the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton.
Family & Personal Life
Robert the Bruce married twice in his lifetime. His first marriage was to Isabella of Mar with whom he had a daughter Marjorie.
He later married Elizabeth de Burgh and had five kids with her, Margaret, Matilda, David, John and Elizabeth Bruce.
The king also had a few illegitimate children, including Sir Robert Bruce.
On 7 June 1329, he died at the Manor of Cardross. According to some sources, he suffered from leprosy (present-day Hansen's disease). However, it was later determined by researchers at University of Western Ontario that he did not have the disease. Also, the suggestions of eczema, syphilis, tuberculosis, cancer or stroke were given as a possible factor contributing to the king’s death.
After his death, his heart was removed and taken on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem before he was finally interred in Melrose Abbey, Roxburghshire.

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