Robert III


Robert III

Robert III was 53 when he was crowned at Scone in 1390 and it seems he was already unfit to rule the kingdom and his brother continued as guardian. His reign saw the Stewart family grow further and like his father he had many children (mostly illegitimate).

In 1391 the alliance with France was renewed. There was some trouble in the Highlands which was eventually settled and the truce with England was extended until 1399. Richard II was then deposed when on the verge of signing a lasting peace agreement and the new English king Henry IV decided to exert that old English claim and declare himself overlord of Scotland.

Henry came north in 1400 demanding that Robert III pay homage to him at Edinburgh. Robert refused but Henry was unable to start a war on the Scots and so a truce was agreed which lasted until 1406 when Henry captured the heir to the Scottish throne, James, and imprisoned him. Robert was dismayed to hear the news and apparently he refused to eat, he died just a few days later.

Robert had a fairly ineffective and unsuccessful reign and according to the chronicler Bower he had no illusions about this. When asked about his own epitaph he replied that he should be buried in a midden and the epitaph should read "Here lies the worst of kings and the most wretched of men in the whole realm".