What Happened to the Scottish Monarchy?

It would probably be better if we start with the line-up of Scots Monarchs from as early as records allow, from Buchanan’s ‘History of Scotland’ (1827), before answering this one. Extra details as taken from Guthrie’s ‘General History of Scotland’ (1767).

(330-305 B.C.E.) 
(305-290 B.C.E.) 
Brother to Fergus, took the crown after Fergus drowned coming back to Scotland from Ireland, while his sons, Ferleg and Mainus, were minors.
(290-261 B.C.E.) 
His older brother Ferleg was set aside from succession being under suspicion of stabbing Fertharis as he slept.
(261-233 B.C.E.) 
Son of Mainus.
(233-213 B.C.E.) 
Brother to Mainus, king while Reuther was a minor. Died in battle.
(213-187 B.C.E.) 
Son of Dornadilla. Married the daughter of Getus, a Pictish king.
(187-170 B.C.E.) 
Cousin to Thereus, succeeded while he was in his minority.
(170-161 B.C.E.) 
Son of Reuther.
(161-137 B.C.E.) 
Brother of Thereus.
(137-107 B.C.E.) 
Son of Josina. He decreed “That kings ʃhould determine or command nothing of great concern or importance without the authority of their great council.”
(107-98 B.C.E.) 
Son of Finnan.
(98-79 B.C.E.) 
Cousin of Durstus.
(79-77 B.C.E.) 
Son of Evenus. Had Durstus’ twin sons Dothan and Dougal killed to prevent their ascending to the throne, along with 2 out of 3 of Dothan’s sons.
(77-60 B.C.E.) 
Nephew of Finnan. After Gillus was killed for his attempted annihilation of the royal family he succeeded while Ederus, 3rd son of Dothan, was a minor.
(60-12 B.C.E.) 
Grandson of Durstus, son of Dothan.
(12-4 B.C.E.) 
Son of Ederus. Dethroned and imprisoned after a rebellion against his practices. Murdered while in confinement.
(4 B.C.E.-35 C.E.) 
Left no heir.
(35-55 C.E.) 
Taken as prisoner to Rome.
(55-72 C.E.) 
Brother of Caractacus. Boadicea was apparently his sister and he fought with her until her death, when he returned to Scotland.
(72-76 C.E.) 
Nephew of Metellanus. Succeeded to the throne while Corbred was a minor.
(76-110 C.E.) 
Son of Corbred. He was also known as Galdus or Galgacus. He led an army against Agricola.
(110-113 C.E.) 
Son of Corbred II. Put to death by his subjects along with his ministers, accused of “lewdness and tyranny.”
(113-149 C.E.) 
Grandson of Corbred II. Son of Corbred II’s daughter. Murdered by his nobles after he enacted that “the estates of such as were condemned should be forfeited to his exchequer, no part thereof being allotted to their wives or children.”
(149-163 C.E.) 
Son of Mogaldus. Was jailed as a tyrant who was set on overtaxing his subjects, dying imprisoned.
(163-195 C.E.) 
Nephew of Mogaldus. Assassinated by a court musician.
(195-199 C.E.) 
Brother of Ethodius. In possession of the crown while his brother’s sons were minors. Tried to have the crown remain in his own family line and was, therefore, assassinated by a servant.
(199-216 C.E.) 
Brother of Ethodius and Satrael. Assigned as the first Christian king of Caledonia.
(216-231 C.E.) 
2nd son of Ethodius. Killed while attempting to resolve tensions among his subjects.
(231-242 C.E.) 
Son of Ethodius II. Killed himself before his subjects could take revenge for his tyranny.
(242-253 C.E.) 
Usurped the throne being head of the subjects against Athirco. Ordered all the nobles on the side of the rightful royal family to be strangled. Killed in revenge by a domestic by the name of Murray.
(253-264 C.E.) 
Eldest son of Athirco. Carantius gave Donald of the Isles authority to assassinate his brother, the king. For which attempt he escaped amongst the Romans.
(264-265 C.E.) 
Youngest son of Athirco. Killed by Donald of the Isles.
(265-277 C.E.) 
This king was also known as Donald of the Isles and was a usurper of the crown after having killed Donald II.
(277-301 C.E.) 
Son of Findochus. Killed Donald III. to regain the throne.
(301-348 C.E.) 
After taking Octavius, a Southern king, under his protection before restoring him to his throne, gained him the counties of Cumberland and Westmoreland in return.
(348-351 C.E.) 
Nephew, and son of the eldest remaining brother, of Crathilinthus. Succeeded during the minority of Fincormach’s sons. His nobles put him to death for tyranny.
(351-353 C.E.) 
Also known as Æneas, was also a cousin to Romachus, being son to a brother of Crathilinthus. Installed while Fincormach’s sons were in their minority. Defeated and killed by the Pictish king, Nectan.
(353-357 C.E.) 
The third cousin to the former two kings, son to another brother of Crathilinthus. Ascended the throne while the sons of Fincormach were minors. Killed the pictish king Nectan and was killed by his harper in return.
(357-404 C.E.) 
Eldest son of Fincormach. Killed with a number of his nobility in battle against a combination of Picts and Britons, the latter supported by the Romans.
Durstus son of HergustFERGUS II
(404-420 C.E.) 
Grandson of Ethod, who was the younger son of Fincormach, and son of Erth and a Danish princess. Fell in battle against the Romans.
(420-452 C.E.) 
Eldest of Fergus II’s sons. Reports differ as o whether he drowned in the Humber or died a natural death.
(452-457 C.E.) 
2nd son of Fergus II, brother to Eugenius. Spread Christianity through his territory. Died in battle againstthe Britons.
(457-479 C.E.) 
3rd son of Fergus II., brother to Eugenius and Dongardus.
(479-501 C.E.) 
Son of Dongardus.
(501-535 C.E.) 
Brother of Congallus. Murdered at Lochaber, or Inverelochy, by a Highland chief.
(535-558 C.E.) 
3rd son of Congallus, nephew to Goranus. Suspected of having a hand in Goranus’ murder after taking the assassin into his service. St. Mungo is cited to have been a son of Eugenius III. and a princess, daughter of the Pictish king Lothus.
(558-568 C.E.) 
Brother of Eugenius III.
(568-569 C.E.) 
Brother of Convallus.
(569-604 C.E.) 
Youngest son of Goranus. Apparently gained the throne after Columba was assaulted by an angel with a whip for two nights. Died of grief, after a loss at Degsastan, when almost 80 years old.
(604-605 C.E.) 
Known as Kenneth Kere, son of Convallus.
(605-622 C.E.) 
Kenneth I.’s fourth son. Also known as Ethod Buyd.
(622-635 C.E.) 
Committed to prison, for being a follower of the Pelagian heresy, where he killed himself.
(635-648 C.E.) 
Son of Eugenius IV. Drowned in Loch Tay.
(648-668 C.E.) 
Nephew of Donald IV and son of Ferchard I.
(668-684 C.E.) 
Son of Donald IV. Strangled by his jealous wife on the eve of battle against the Saxons, for which she was burned alive with her accomplices.
(684-688 C.E.) 
Nephew of Malduinus. Also known as Eochol with the crooked nose.
(688-698 C.E.) 
Son of Ferchard II.
(698-699 C.E.) 
Nephew of Eugenius V. Killed by an arrow while invading the Pictish dominions.
(699-716 C.E.) 
Brother of Amberkeleth. Married Spondana, daughter of Garnard, the Pictish king.
(716-731 C.E.) 
Son of Amberkeleth.
(731-761 C.E.) 
Son of Eugenius VII.
(761-764 C.E.) 
Son of Mordacus. Sentenced to death by his nobles for passing tyrannical sentences.
(764-767 C.E.) 
Son of Etfinus. His wife poisoned him out of jealousy and killed herself from guilt.
(767-787 C.E.) 
Son of Eugenius VIII.
(787-819 C.E.) 
Son of Etfinus. Married Fergusiana, daughter of Hungus, Pictish king.
(819-824 C.E.) 
Nephew of Achaius. Known as Conval.
(824-830 C.E.) 
Son of Solvathius. Drowned crossing the Spey.
Dorstlog son of Hungus killed by his younger brother Egan, who was killed by Dorstlog’s widow – ending the Pictish monarchy.ALPIN or ALPINUS
(830-833 C.E.) 
Son of Achaius.
(833-854 C.E.) 
Deemed the first king of Scots to ascend also to the Pictish throne, combining the two into one kingdom.
(854-858 C.E.) 
Brother of Kenneth II. Deemed “irreclaimable” by his subjects and shut up in prison, where he killed himself.
(858-874 C.E.) 
Son of Kenneth II. Mac-Alpin. Nephew of Donald V. Defeated by the Danes, taken to the Devil’s Cave, Fife, and beheaded.
(874-875 C.E.) 
Brother of Constantine II. Surnamed the Swiftfoot.
(875-892 C.E.) 
Son of Dongallus. Surnamed the Great. After defeating the king of the Cumbrians in Annandale, made himself master of Cumberland and Westmoreland.
(892-903 C.E.) 
Third son of Constantine II. Died at Forres.
(903-943 C.E.) 
Son of Ethus. Resigned the crown in order to spend his remaining years in the Culdee monastery at St. Andrews.
(943-952 C.E.) 
Possibly a prince of Cumberland, son of Dunmail. Murdered as part of a conspiracy.
(952-961 C.E.) 
Son of Constantine III.
(961-966 C.E.) 
Son of Malcolm I.
(966-970 C.E.) 
Son of Indulfus. Killed, with his brother Ethod, by lowland Scottish factions.
(970-994 C.E.) 
Killed in a planned ambush.
(994-996 C.E.) 
Known as Constantine the Bald.
(996-1004 C.E.) 
Grandson of Duff.
(1004-1034 C.E.) 
Son of Kenneth III. Died with no immediate heir, giving that privilege to his grandson. He was assassinated when over 80 years of age.
(1034-1040 C.E.) 
Grandson of Malcolm II. Murdered by Macbeth, his nephew.
(1040-1057 C.E.) 
Nephew and murderer of Duncan I. Forfeited his crown when he went to hide in the Highlands from Malcom Canmore’s faction. Assigned Lulach, “surnamed the Idiot”, to succeed him. Lulach was killed, four months after being crowned at Scone, by Malcolm’s faction.
(1057-1093 C.E.) 
Known as Malcom Canmore. His queen was later canonised as St. Margaret. Killed four days before his wife died after an illness.
(1093-1094 C.E.) 
Brother of Malcolm III. Surnamed Bane. Struggled to hold on to the throne against Duncan II. Donald had his eyes removed before being imprisoned as a usurper of the Scottish throne, by his nephew Edgar.
(1094-1098 C.E.) 
Natural son, acknowledged by his father but a bastard born out of wedlock, of Malcolm III. Had himself crowned instead of aiding Edgar. Killed by Malpedir, “the thane, or earl, of Mearns,” possibly instigated by Donald VII.
(1098-1107 C.E.) 
Eldest son of Malcolm III. and nephew of Donald VII. Died after a “peaceable reign of nine years and three months,” and buried at Dunfermline.
(1107-1124 C.E.) 
Brother to Edgar. Son of Malcolm III. Surnamed the Fierce. Died unmarried and was buried at Dunfermline.
(1124-1153 C.E.) 
Younger brother of Alexander I. Son of Malcolm III. Died in old age and was buried at Dunfermline.
(1153-1165 C.E.) 
Grandson of David I. Surnamed the Maiden. Died early after a period of depression.
(1165-1214 C.E.) 
Brother of Malcolm IV. Surnamed the Lion. Died when 74 years old, in the 49th year of his reign.
(1214-1249 C.E.) 
Son of William. Buried at Melrose.
(1249-1286 C.E.) 
Son of Alexander II. 9 years old when crowned.
(1286-1293 C.E.)
(1293-1306 C.E.) 
(1306-1330 C.E.) 
(1330-1332 C.E.) 
(1332-1370 C.E.) 
(1370-1390 C.E.) 
(1390-1424 C.E.) 
(1424-1437 C.E.) 
(1437-1460 C.E.) 
(1460-1489 C.E.) 
(1489-1514 C.E.) 
(1514-1544 C.E.) 
(1544-1567 C.E.) 
(1567-1625 C.E.) 

The Scottish monarchy has evolved with the country’s identity. The ruling families styled themselves as Kings of Picts, of Alba, and of Scots as the population’s identity changed over the centuries. I’ll discuss a wee bit about who the defining monarchs were and the substantial changes that occurred over the years of Scotland’s ruling houses in a bid to find out ultimately what happened to those on the Scottish throne.

There were the Kings of the Picts, then of Alba, with Donald VI, before ending with Malcolm II as King of Scots. The House of Dunkeld went back to calling themselves the Kings of Alba, for the 24 years they were on the throne, before Malcolm III’s marriage to Ingibiorg began the Sverre dynasty and again took the title Kings of Scots. This House held the Scottish crown for 228 years before the Great Cause caused problems for the Scottish ascendancy, with Edward I of England stepping in to decide the rightful claimant to the Scottish crown.

Alexander III held the crown until 1286. He had three children who both died before he did; David when he was still a child, Margaret in 1283, and Alexander in 1284. Margaret had a daughter, Margaret (Maid of Norway), with Eric II of Norway, and she was recognised as Queen of Scots due to the treaty that was signed on her mother’s marriage with Eric. The treaty was meant for Margaret (as the last heir of the line) and her future husband to take the crown. She was only 3 when this right fell to her. The Scots didn’t send for her though. Eric of Norway dealt with Edward I of England at the start of 1289 to have her made the rightful Queen of Scotland. Later that same year Edward met with Robert de Brus & as the Scottish Guardians felt they had no power to deny her her right they signed the Treaty of Salisbury. Edward I’s intention was to have her marry his son Edward and, ten days after the treaty was signed (showing it was planned for), dispensation arrived from Pope Nicholas IV to allow this marriage should the Scots feel it was in their interest. It was all for nought, as one might say, when she died from the effects of sea-sickness on her way over to Scotland in 1290.

Now there was no obvious rightful claimant to take the sceptre, crown & throne of Scotland. The Great Cause really got under way at this point. Who had more of a claim? John Balliol and Robert de Brus, 5th Lord of Annandale, were the two main contenders, though fourteen nobles applied for the position. John Hastings, for example, had to base his argument on Scotland not being a kingdom due to its kings not being traditionally crowned or anointed. He believed the kingdom (he didn’t believe existed) should be split up between the direct descendants of David I. The nobles deemed this ridiculous and rejected his claim. Robert de Brus as one of the main contenders had a closer blood connection than the others. Unfortunately, in Scots law primogeniture [the firstborn having right of succession] was the principal option chosen for deciding an heir. Bruce had agreed with Balliol on Scotland being one kingdom but when he saw his claim failing he changed his mind and sided with Hastings calling for Scotland to be divided between the deserving parties. John Balliol was up there with de Brus as a strong contender but as he had primogeniture, and therefore the law, on his side, he had the winning card. Due to everyone, including the future contenders, allowing Margaret initially to take the throne this secured primogeniture as the deciding factor and therefore Balliol ascended to the Scottish throne.

Edward I had become involved after Margaret’s death due the Scottish nobles having him intervene to stop full-blown war between de Brus and Balliol. Of course, he happily stood in as it gave him the chance to secure the acknowledgement of Scotland’s feudal dependency to the throne of England, this was three hundred years before Mary, Queen of Scots, was murdered by Elizabeth for not ratifying the Treaty of Edinburgh which claimed the same. In the late twelfth century Scotland was deemed a vassal state of England from 1174 for a mere 15 years due to the Treaty of Falaise, though English nobles have proceeded on the basis this treaty was sound and has been maintained ever since. In 1291 Edward demanded his feudal claim over Scotland be recognised before he would step in to put a king on Scotland’s throne. He did this by insisting Scots produce evidence to prove he didn’t have this claim, rather than prove it himself. The Scots returned the answer that without a king there was no-one in the country with the authority to assert that and any claim from them that he did in fact have a feudal right over the country would, therefore, mean nothing. Edward was incensed by this reply so much he refused to allow it onto the legal record as the Scots were entirely correct in their inability to answer him as he would have wanted. He was however given control over a number of Scottish castles in return for his aid in this issue.

The House of Balliol lasted all of four years before the Scottish nobles deposed him as weak and too under Edward I’s thumb choosing a council of twelve to rule in his place. The Auld Alliance treaty between Scotland and France was signed under this council. Edward invaded Scotland because he felt undermined. He believed Scotland should have to listen to him and act as per his wishes. This began the Scottish Wars of Independence. When Scotland lost in 1296, Balliol abdicated and was imprisoned by Edward in the Tower of London, after which he fled into France. Robert Bruce took the Scottish throne in 1306, ending the Great Cause. The House of Bruce, however, only lasted 65 years before Scotland’s last house took the throne.

The House of Stewart or Stuart (even Steuart) began their stint with Robert II. His father Walter Stewart, the sixth High Steward (where the name comes from) of Scotland, married Robert the Bruce’s daughter Marjorie. When David II, the last of the House of Bruce, died without any heirs, his nephew Robert took the crown. James IV’s marriage to Margaret Tudor, in order to secure peace between the neighbouring countries, tied the Tudor and Stewart families together with the birth of James V. Margaret went on to marry Archibald Douglas and gave birth to Henry Stuart. James V’s daughter Mary took the Scottish throne with her husband, Francis II, the Dauphin of France. When he died after only 2 years of marriage she married her half cousin Henry Stuart, known as Darnley, after he was suggested as worthy by her “good cousin” Elizabeth I of England, and gave birth to James VI. When Darnley was murdered in an explosion “that left no one stone above another” in the house he was residing in, the faction of nobles, under her bastard brother (the Regent Moray), were quick to accuse her of obtaining her husband’s murder. This was cited as the main reason her “good cousin” had her imprisoned indefinitely after she sought safety in England, regardless of the fact all the main players, including Moray, were apprehended, sentenced and executed for the crime long before she was finally murdered.

Elizabeth’s main grief with Mary rose from the fact she refused to ratify the Treaty of Edinburgh. This was a treaty made on behalf of her and the Dauphin prior to their arrival in Scotland and without their consent. All points of this treaty were satisfactory to Mary bar the one, that which denied her any claim to the English throne. Mary refused to sign because Elizabeth and she were both descended from Henry VII which meant if Elizabeth were to die “without issue”, Mary was the next rightful heir to the English throne. To deny her what was rightfully hers by blood was illegal and unconstitutional but Elizabeth pursued this ratification until Mary had been forced to give up her crown and sceptre to her infant son after being captured by factions within the Scottish nobles acting under Elizabeth’s orders. Her son James VI, therefore, became the last king of Scotland. He inherited his mother’s right to ascend the English throne, after having sat on the Scottish one for 36 years, when Elizabeth I finally died in 1603. He became King of Great Britain and Ireland.

So, in answer to the set question of what happened to those in line to the Scottish throne, it became the British throne. It amalgamated into the one entity so a distinction could only be made should the same name appear on the British throne. Our present monarch is a good example of this as England has had a Queen Elizabeth, as we’ve seen, whereas Scotland hasn’t, therefore she’s Elizabeth II of England and I of Scotland. It would be the same if any names from either throne has historically been used in one place or the other. Our present queen had suggested the line of succession would bypass her son to her grandson William. On his ascending the throne of Great Britain he will be William II of Scotland and V of England, thereby maintaining a semblance of distinction between the two. Should Charles in fact take the throne he will be the third of his name as all the previous Charleses have been kings of both Scotland and England.

Thanks to mercuryunique for the query.

12 thoughts on “What Happened to the Scottish Monarchy?

  1. You said “On his [Prince William’s] ascending the throne of Great Britain he will be William II of Scotland and V of England” but that’s not right because there are no longer kingdoms of Scotland or England for him to be respectively II and V of. Since 1801, there has been only one kingdom in the British Isles, the one that’s now called the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. As regards the numeral, this was gone into in a court case at the time that the present queen chose the title Elizabeth II considering that there had never been an Elizabeth I of either Scotland or of the UK, only of England. The decision was that the royal title is a matter for the royal prerogative (as to which, of course, she acts on the advice of her ministers) and not justiciable in the courts. She would have been entitled to have called herself Tabitha the Two hundred and twenty eighth if she’d wanted to (and her Ministers agreed). That being the case, calling herself by her actual name plus the numeral which is the highest number of a monarch of the same name of the UK, or of any of the countries which merged to become the UK, plus one was a reasonable compromise.

    1. Thanks for the info. Love that folk are commenting additions to this, as, unless it’s been said to death already on this page, I’m afraid I’m no monarchist and have no stake or interest in the monarchy post-1900 or what they call themselves. Regardless of what she’s chosen, the fact is that she is the I. of Scotland, II. of England, regardless what she’s legally decided she is. Even if William becomes Tinkerbell XVIII, he will still in basic fact be William II. of Scotland, &c. I appreciate that folk are going to the bother of informing others. That’s what it’s all about, after all, eh?

      1. The point is that there isn’t a kingdom of Scotland for her to be Elizabeth I of. Or a kingdom of England for her to be Elizabeth II of. (There are still *countries* called Scotland and England, naturally, but no longer kingdoms of Scotland or England.)

        1. I think it was already explained to you by others, that the very fact of there being any difference at all between the kingdoms of Scotland & England would suggest otherwise.
          1. The people of Scotland are Sovereign, the Queen is Queen of Scots, whereas, in England the Queen is Sovereign and Queen of England.
          2. The Royal family has a Scottish Regalia and armorial bearings distinct from that of the English. These things were never amalgamated.

          “On a certain occasion, when her Majesty was presented with a casket, at Holyrood Palace, containing a loyal address, she noted the wrong quartering of the royal arms and returned the casket to have them altered on it to the correct royal arms of Scotland.”
          – St James’s Gazette, Wednesday 30th June, 1897.

  2. “Our present queen has said the line will bypass her son to her grandson William. On his ascending the throne of Great Britain he will be William II of Scotland and V of England,”

    When did the Queen say this? She will be succeeded by Charles, as the constitution demands, and he has said he would like to be known as George VII. As for William, he may very well take another name too.

    1. At the time I wrote this the news had us under the impression the Queen was set to choose William over Charles as next in line. William has said he’s not ready for that role yet. Though you’re right about their ability to choose their moniker, the mention about “William II of Scotland and V of England,” was purely to give an example of the difference in name no. between the two countries, not in a bid to guess what he’d call himself. Thanks for taking an interest.

      1. The Queen cannot choose her successor. As a constitutional monarch she must abide by the constitution which states that the throne must pass to the next in line and that is Prince Charles.

        Scotland is the oldest monarchy in Europe.

        1. Yep that’s fine. Like I said in the answer you’ve replied to, it was mere supposition by the media outlets at the time of writing. I’m afraid I’m no monarchist and have no stake or interest in who ends up on the throne after Elizabeth or what they choose to name themselves. I think the Danes have something of a claim to the oldest monarchy. Thanks for your comment. Take care.

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