- King Robert III (1337-1406)
Son of King Robert II and his first wife, Elizabeth Mure of Rowallan, James was born at Scone Palace> on August 14, 1337. He was initially considered illegitimate by the Church due to the too close consanguinity of his parents. However, a Papal dispensation was granted in 1347.
In 1366 Robert married Annabella Drummond and had seven children, including the future King James I. During his lifetime, King David II> and Robert II (his father) both ruled and died. King David II, grandson of Robert the Bruce, died without issue. His sister, Marjorie, married Walter the Steward (Stewart), thus founding the Stewart dynasty.
King Robert II was already aged 55 and infirm when he came to the throne and much of the royal power was passed to his eldest son, the Earl of Carrick. He had been baptised as 'John' but, in view of the potential confusion with John Balliol and the untimely fates of kings of that name in England and France, he was crowned as Robert III at the Augustinian abbey of Scone on August 14, 1390 after the death of his father at Dundonald Castle> on April 19, 1390.
Robert III was described as 'feeble', 'timid' and 'unfit to rule'. He had been crippled as a result of a riding accident two years before he came to the throne. He had a reputation for kindliness and justice (despite organising the Battle of the Clans> in 1396 between clans Chattan and Kay on the North Inch, Perth). But his personal qualities and failing health (both mental and physical) undermined his authority and power was transferred to his brother the Duke of Albany and his eldest son, the Duke of Rothesay. However, Albany imprisoned the Duke of Rothesay in Falkland Palace> where he died of starvation in 1401.
In 1402, the Scots, led by 4th Earl of Douglas were defeated at the Battle of Homildon Hill> by English army led by Percy 'Hotspur'.
The King sent his younger son, James, to France for safety in 1406 but after he had been captured by pirates off Flamborough Head, he became a prisoner of the English King Henry IV>. King Robert III died some months later on April 4, 1406, after describing himself as "the worst of kings and the most miserable of men." He is buried in Paisley Abbey> and in the 19th century, Queen Victoria paid for the construction of a memorial to him (see illustration above).
Because of his imprisonment in England, his son, James I, was not crowned until 1424.
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