King Robert III, 1390 - 1406

Robert III with wife Annabella Drummond
Robert III with wife Annabella Drummond

John, Earl of Carrick, the eldest son of Robert II and Elizabeth Mure, refused to be crowned king in his own name as he considered it to be unlucky. Robert was already in his fifties when he came to power and by all accounts he was an invalid and a depressive. On one occasion while in a discussion with his wife, Annabella Drummond, he asked to be buried in a 'midden' with the epitaph 'Here lies the worst of kings and the most miserable of men'. Unfortunatley this statement had more than an element of truth about it.

In general Robert let his country be (mis)governed without any input from himself. Following the coronation Robert, Earl of Fife, the kings brother, was made Governor of the Realm in an open declaration that Robert was not considered able to rule the kingdom. Things went from bad to worse with royal income significantly reduced and lawlessness significantly increased.

It was during the period of the first two Stewarts that the Highland/Lowland split became very apparent. The Lowlands in the south were coming to be seen as cultured and civilised while the Highlands and other Gaelic speaking regions were seen as barbarous. The west was now almost an independent state under the Macdonalds, the powerful Lords of the Isles. Even the king's brother Alexander, 'the Wolf of Badenoch' was involved in raids on the Lowlands from the Highlands as well as the notorious burning of Elgin Cathedral. In 1396 the king even presided over a set battle between the Chattan and Kay clans at Perth.


Realising that something had to be done the Queen in 1399 organised a palace coup. David, Duke of Rothesay, the king's heir, was made Lieutenant of the Realm. Robert's brother, the Earl of Fife, also demanded, and got, a dukedom - that of Albany. It soon became apparent that David, Duke of Rothesay, was useless and Albany had him imprisoned at Falkland Palace, where he died in 1402. The Queen was also dead by now and very little stood between Albany and the throne.

Robert III had finally realised that the situation was now desperate and he had his last surviving son, Prince James, put aboard a merchant ship headed for France. Even this went wrong as the ship was captured by pirates and James was taken to Henry IV, who promptly threw him into the Tower of London. When the news of his sons capture reached him Robert totally gave up and 'his spirit forthwith left him, the strength waned from his body, his countenance grew pale, and for grief thereafter he took no food'. He was dead within a few days.

Marriage 1 Spouse Unknown
  1. Has No Children James (of Kilbride) Stewart

Marriage 2 Spouse Unknown
  • Marriage Beginning Status: Friends
  1. Has Children John (Sir) (of Ardgowan) Stewart b: ABT. 1362 in of Ardgowan, Inverkip, Renfrewshire, Scotland

Marriage 3 Annabella (of Stoball) Drummond b: 1350 
  • Married: 1367
  1. Has Children Elizabeth (Princess) Stewart = James (Sir) (1st Lord Dalkeith) Douglas
  2. Has Children Margaret (Princess) Stewart b: ABT. 1370 = Archibald Tyneman 4th Earl of Douglas
  3. Has No Children David (Duke of Rothesay) Stewart b: 24 OCT 1378 = Marjory (Mary) Douglas, dau of Archibald the Grim (3rd Earl of Douglas) Douglas
  4. Has Children Mary (Princess) Stewart b: ABT. 1380
  5. Has No Children Robert Stewart b: ABT. 1383, died young
  6. Has No Children Egidia (Princess) Stewart b: ABT. 1390
  7. Has Children James I Stewart King of Scotland b: DEC 1394 in Dunfermline Palace, Fife