"O Scotia! my dear, my native soil!
For whom my warmest wish to heaven is sent;
Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil
Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet content"
Robbie Burns

Monday, November 15, 2010


The Stewart dynasty was often plagued with many minority monarchs so the role of the Dowager Queens was always one of a power struggle to make sure her son was not killed and his eventual power was protected . However, these three women who married the first two Stewart Kings did not have this problem. What also made them unique was all three were Scottish born women. Unique? When you look at the queens before them from King Malcolm III forward to King Robert Bruce not a single Queen was a Scot. Interestingly Robert Bruce's first wife Isabella of Mar was a Scot, the daughter of the Earl of Mar and a woman named Ellen who had previously been the wife of Earl of Fife. It was Isabella's and King Robert Bruce's daughter, Marjory Bruce wife of Walter Stewart the High Steward of Scotland who was the mother of the Stewart Dynasty beginning with her son Robert II. His wives and daughter in law was...

Elizabeth Mure (first wife of Robert II)

She was the daughter of Sir Adam Mure of Ayrshire and Joan Cunnigham. She initially was Robert’s mistress but married him in 1336 but the nobles and Church had a problem with this marriage as being not within the conical rules. So initially their children were considered “natural”. However he was able to get a papal dispensation in 1347 and married her in 1349. At this point he was able to make all of his sons by Elizabeth legitimate, which would later create a problem for the Stewart dynasty when the King took a second wife. Unfortunately Elizabeth died before 1355 and Robert was not crowned King until 1371, when he was 55, she was never his queen. Elizabeth had 4 sons (his heir Robert III) and 6 daughters:

John (King Robert III), Earl of Carrick, Walter , Lord of Fife, Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, Alexander,

Margaret m John, Lord of the Isles, Marjory m John, Earl of Moray, Johanna m Sir John Keith/others, Isabella m James Douglas-2nd Earl of Douglas/others, Katherine m Sir Robert Logan, Elizabeth m St Thomas Hay.

Euphemia Ross (Robert’s queen but his second wife)

She was the daughter of the Earl of Ross and Matilda Bruce (King Robert the Bruce’s sister), creating more problems when both she and Robert II were related to King Robert I: she his niece and he his grandson. This relationship required Robert to obtain another papal dispensation, which was common for noble families in Scotland at the time. Her marriage to Robert II was her second marriage after the death of her first husband the Earl of Moray in 1346 and she remained unmarried until May 1355 when she married Robert II.

Her second marriage to Robert produced 5 more children of which two were sons and it was her sons who disputed the legitimacy of their step-brothers. The Ross family claimed that the sons of the first marriage to Elizabeth Mure had no claim to the Scottish throne as they were illegitimate when born. However despite the fact that this first marriage was ruled unconical by the Church when they declared themselves married and lived together producing at least 10 children, the children of such unions in Scotland (noble or common man) would have been legal heirs under Scottish laws. However, on March 27 1371, the Scottish Parliament at Scone Abbey declared that Robert’s first- born son John (later named Robert III) from his marriage to Elizabeth as his legal heir. Euphemia died 1386 before Robert II in 1391. Her children included:

David, Earl of Caithness, Walter, Earl of Atholl

Margaret m ?, Elizabeth m David Lindsay, Earl of Crawford, Eigidia m Sir Wm. Douglas of Nithsdale

Annabelle Drumond (wife of Robert III)

Annabelle was born in Scotland in 1350 at Dunfermline Abbey, Fife to the Sir John Drummond and Mary Montifex. She married Robert III in 1367 at the age of 17, some 23 years before her husband ascended to the throne of Scotland. When that happened both she and her husband were crowned at the same time. While King David II was still alive John (Robert III) was named earl of Carrick and she was his countess before later becoming his queen. She and Robert had at least 7 children including the future King James I, her youngest and remaining son. What happened to her older son David is unknown but legend claims he was starved to death by his uncle Robert, Earl of Rothesay, brother to King Robert II.

Annabelle favored the burgh of Fife and donated a sandstone font with her likeness and heraldry to the parish Kirk. Her life was difficult because of the turmoil her husband’s riding accident, which left him cripple and the murder of her eldest son at the hands of her brother in law. This brother ran the country in the king’s name creating all sorts of problems from the Islands to the Borders as well as within his family. It was assumed by historians he was trying to supplant his own son Murdock as heir apparent. Annabelle died at age 51 at Scone Palace and was buried at Dunfermline. Her children included:

David, Duke of Rothesay(murdered by his uncle), Robert died infancy, James (Duke of Rothesay on his brother’s death and later became James I of Scotland

Margaret m Archibald, Earl of Douglas, Mary m George Douglas, Earl of Angus/others, Elizabeth m Sir James Douglas, 1st Baron of Dalkeith, Egida m to a Douglas family.

The next posting will be looking at three children of these women and how their lifes might have influenced Scottish history.


Donna Goode said...

Wouldn't you love to have had more insight into the daily lives of these women and had a clear picture of who they were (and better still, how they saw themselves)? That's why I love to read old diaries.

Jody said...

Yes I would love to know more about these women. I find it interesting that they had such large familiies as well. The next queen in th group of Stewart queens is Joan Beaufort who of course was English and she gave birth to 8 children one being a set of twin boys but only one lived. She was a fighter but maybe that was because she was the grand daughter of John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford. So little is know about these women.