The Relationship between Robert II and David II

This post and video were created by Blythe Paterson and Gwen Sinclair

On the 22nd of February, 1371, David II of Scotland, only living son of Robert the Bruce, passed away at the age of 46 at Edinburgh Castle. His unexpected death triggered the succession of his nephew, Robert Stewart, the 7th High Steward of Scotland (you can read more about Robert II’s ascension here. At the time of David II’s death, Robert was not only David’s closest living male relative, but had also been named as heir presumptive by David’s father, Robert the Bruce, before David was even born. 

This should have made Robert’s path to the throne a straightforward one – however tensions between Robert Stewart and his uncle had flared throughout much of David’s lifetime – particularly in the final decade of his reign, creating several enemies for the new King. 

In March of 1371, a group gathered at Linlithgow under William the 1st  Earl of Douglas, seemingly with the purpose of stopping Robert Stewart from becoming king. It’s possible that a few alternatives were suggested, likely remnants from old feuds which had divided parliament and the nation under David II.

Thankfully for us at Dundonald, Robert was able to overcome this obstacle to be crowned at Scone on the 26th of March 1371 – 650 years ago this month!

To elaborate on the tensions which existed between David Bruce (David II) and Robert Stewart (Robert II), and to show how they nearly stopped the establishment of the Stewart dynasty and how Robert did end up on the throne – please watch our short film:

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Stephen Boardman The Early Stewart Kings: Robert II and Robert III 1371-1406. Cromwell Press, Wiltshire: 1996.

Records of Parliament of Scotland to 1707 – accessible at: Including articles drafted in 1315, 1318 and 1325 (freely accessible to all) (Records of Parliament for Scotland to 1707 – 1318, after the death of Robert’s brother, Edward Bruce, a document is produced from parliament which names Robert Stewart (son of Robert Bruce’s late daughter Marjorie Bruce, and her husband Walter the 6th High Steward of Scotland) heir should Robert Bruce produce no male heirs in his lifetime – document can be found on

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (accessible with University association)

Ranald Nicholson, ‘David II, the Historians and the Chroniclers,’ The Scottish Historical Review , Apr., 1966, Vol. 45, No. 139, Part 1: William Croft Dickinson Memorial Number (Apr., 1966), pp. 59-78

Images: Cover image by Gwen Sinclair FODC (sword background + film roll image by Free-Photos from Pixabay)