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Robert Douglas, 8th Earl of Morton









Robert was the first of ten children of Sir William, 7th Earl of Morton. He succeeded to the Morton title upon his father's death in 1648. Robert married Elizabeth Villiers, daughter of Sir Edward Villiers of Brakesby.

He was a direct descendant of King James II through his great-great grandmother Lady Margaret Crichton, the daughter of the Princess Margaret of Scotland.


After his father's death, Robert acted in a high-handed way in Orkney, overriding udal law, to raise money for the royalist cause.


The Morton interest in Orkney was a royal grant of Charles I, to compensate the 7th Earl for his subsidies and losses in the royal cause. At this point of the War of the Three Kingdoms the Morton control of Orkney assumed importance, because the forces of James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose intended in 1649 to land there and re-open the fighting in Scotland.


Death: He died at Kirkwall, November 12, 1649.

Father: William (7th Earl of Morton) Douglas b: 1582
Mother: Ann (of Marischal) Keith

Marriage 1 Anne Villers* Children
  1. Has Children William (9th Earl of Morton) Douglas
  2. Has No Children Robert Douglas - Master of the Horse to Henrietta, Duchess of Orleans; lieutenant of gens d'armes in France; lieutenant of the Horse Guards of CharlesII (dsp. 1661)
  3. Has No Children Anne Douglas
  4. Has Children Margaret or Mary Douglas = Sir Donald Breac Macdonald, 3rd Bt of Sleat

* Anne Villiers was the daughter of Sir Edward Villiers (c. 1574 – 7 September 1626) and his wife Barbara St. John, a daughter of Sir John St. John. She was the niece of the Duke of Buckingham, who was her father's half-brother. Anne Villiers' nieces were Elizabeth Villiers, mistress to William III, and Barbara Villiers, who was the mistress of Charles II of England and would be made Duchess of Cleveland in her own right.


Anne Villiers (c. 1610 – 15 December 1654) was an English noblewoman and Countess of Morton. She was famed for her beauty, bravery and loyalty to the throne. The first half of the 17th century closet drama Cicilia and Clorinda was dedicated to her.

Lady Dalkeith, as she was styled at the time, was the godmother of Princess Henrietta. During the civil war, the infant princess, less than one month old, was left in Lady Dalkeith's care. After being besieged in Exeter by Parliamentary forces in April 1646, she was forced to expend her own funds to care for the princess. She refused to take the child to St. James Palace, endeavoring instead to convey her to France to be united with her mother, Queen Henrietta Maria. She disguised herself and the princess as peasants and fled to Dover and then France. Apparently, during the journey, the princess nearly revealed their identity by innocently informing the townspeople that she was not accustomed to dressing in such a shabby fashion. Nevertheless, they arrived safely. Lady Dalkeith's actions were well received and highly praised upon her arrival. Shortly after, her father-in-law died, making her Countess of Morton.

Despite efforts of conversion to Catholicism by the princess' mother and the child herself, Lady Morton remained a staunch Protestant throughout her time as Princess Henrietta's governess. Lady Morton lived in France as the princess' governess until 1651, when her husband, the Earl, died. She herself died in Scotland on 15 December 1654, of a sudden bout of fever.



Robert Douglas, Lord of Dalkeith - 10th April 1622.


WILLIAM DOUGLAS, eighth EARL OF MORTON, was the son of ROBERT DOUGLAS of Lochleven, and JEAN LYON, daughter of JOHN, eighth LORD GLAMIS. His grandfather was that WILLIAM DOUGLAS of Lochleven who had charge of QUEEN MARY whilst imprisoned in Lochleven Castle, and who, after a life of strange vicissitudes, had become seventh EARL OF MORTON. The latter was succeeded in 1606 by his grandson, whose name is here enrolled. The eighth EARL OF MORTON was one of the foremost politicians of his time, and held the elevated position of Lord High Treasurer of Scotland.

It is stated that before the Civil War broke out he was (one of the richest and greatest subjects in the Kingdom. "Unfortunately for himself he cast in his lot with the Royalist party, and was repeatedly applied to for money to enable them to carry on the war. For this purpose he disposed of his extensive and valuable property of Dalkeith, together with several of his minor estates, thus depriving himself of an annual rental estimated at 100,000 pounds Scots. As an offset for this great sacrifice on his part, he received a Royal charter, dated 15th June, 1643, granting him the Islands of Orkney and Shetland in absolute right, with all their jurisdictions, redeemable only by the Crown upon payment of £30,000 sterling.

This charter, though apparently exact in all its terms, was ultimately repudiated by CHARLES II, and the Islands were once more annexed to the Crown by special Act of Parliament, in 1669. The EARL OF MORTON died in 1648, and was succeeded by his eldest son ROBERT, the issue of his marriage with LADY ANN KEITH, daughter of GEORGE, fifth EARL MARISCHAL (vide page 65). This son was the "ROBERT, LORD OF DALIKEITH," whose name appears on the Burgess Roll beside that of his father, and who became ninth EARL OF MORTON on the death of his father. This dignity he only enjoyed for one year, as he died in 1649, leaving a son, WILLIAM, who succeeded him, and who was made a Burgess of Dundee on 7th March, 1663.








See also:
The Earls of Morton

•  Silver Arrow medals







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Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024