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House of Stewart 1390-1625

The Stewart Line

Though Edward III was engaged in the early stages of what came to be known as The Hundred Years War with France, he had the time and energy to deal with David II, son of Bruce, when he attempted to reclaim the throne of Scotland. David was defeated at Neville's Cross and made a prisoner at the Tower of London for eleven years until he was able to pay a ransom for his release.

The raising of the ransom money had been made difficult by the Black Death, which had impoverished daily life, so Edward offered David his release in exchange for an agreement on the succession to the Scottish throne. The Scottish parliament were not prepared to accept the terms and the truce which had reigned during David's imprisonment came to an end.

On David's death his place was taken by Robert Stewart, grandson of Robert Bruce who became Robert II. He was followed by Robert III. There now followed a period of family rivalries and lawlessness as diverse groups competed for power. Then in 1406 the English once again put a Scottish King in the Tower of London. This time it was James, son of Robert III, and he was imprisoned for eighteen years.

The bitter rivalry between Scotland and England continued, with the Scots united in their desire to remain independent, and the English Kings determined to deprive them of it. In 1563 hope of a reconciliation rose again as a marriage was agreed between Margaret, daughter of Henry VII, and James IV of Scotland. Expectations were dashed, however, when James, responding to a call from his Auld Alliance ally the French King, challenged Henry VIII's army at Flodden and saw his army slaughtered.

This seemed to spell the end for Scottish independence but destiny had another card to play, when the next Scottish king, James V, married a French woman, Mary of Guise, in 1538.

In 1542, shortly after a Scottish army had suffered a crushing and shameful defeat at the hands of English Borderers at Solway Moss, Mary gave birth to a daughter who, days after her birth, became Queen of Scots on the death of her broken and demoralized father, James V.

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