King David II

King David II of Scotland succeeded his father, Robert I better known as Robert the Bruce in 1329 at the age of five, and ruled until his death in 1371. However, his supporters lost a battle in 1333 against Edward III and his rival for the Scottish throne, Edward's protégé, Edward Balliol and he was taken to France for safety, remaining there until 1341.

King david II

 

Invading England in 1346, David was captured and held as a house prisoner for the next eleven years. In 1357, the Scottish barons agreed to pay a ransom for his release, and David again returned to his native land. Only a small sum of what had been agreed was actually paid, because David set about negotiating a compromise by which he would be succeeded by an Englishman. This deal was never concluded because David died in 1371. Since he was childless, he was succeeded by his cousin, Robert, who became Robert II. David had traditionally been represented as a weak and ineffective ruler whose tenure as King of Scotland was marked by a major defeat, by seven years in exile and by another eleven under arrest. The best that is usually be said is that although Scotland came close to losing her independence during his reign, this did not actually happen. However, it has been suggested that David was rather more astute than has generally been thought and that by re-negotiating the ransom, he left the Scottish economy in a much better position while his apparent willingness to allow an Englishman to succeed him may have been part of a clever diplomatic charade.

 

Dunfermline Palace, birthplace of David Bruce

David II was the elder and only surviving son of Robert I of Scotland and his second wife, Elizabeth De Burgh. He was born on 5 March 1324 at the Treaty of Northampton’s terms, David was married on 17 July 1328 to Joan of the Tower, daughter of Edward II and Isabella of France, at Berwick-Upon-Tweed. They had no issue.

 

Reign

David became king of Scotland upon the death of his father on 7 June 1329, aged 5 years, 3 months, and 3 days. David and his Queen were crowned at Scone on 24 November 1331.

During David's minority, Sir Thomas Randolph, the 1st Earl of Moray was appointed Guardian of Scotland by the Act of Settlement 1318. After Moray's death, on 20 July 1332, and was replaced by Donald, Earl of Mar, elected by an assembly of the magnates of Scotland at Perth, 2 August 1332. Only ten days later Mar fell at the Battle of Dupplin Moor. Sir Andrew Moray of Bothwell, who was married to Christian, the sister of King Robert I (her third husband), was chosen as the new Guardian. He was taken prisoner by the English at Roxburgh in April 1333 and was thence replaced as Guardian by Sir Archibald Douglas who fell at Halidon Hill that July.

Meanwhile, on 24 September 1332, following the Scots' defeat at Dupplin, Edward Balliol a protégé of Edward III of England, was crowned King of the Scots at Scone by the English and his Scots adherents. By December, however, Balliol was forced to flee to England but returned the following year as part of an invasion force led by the English king. Following the victory of this force at the Battle of Halidon Hill in July 1333, David and his Queen were sent for safety into France, reaching Boulogne on 14 May 1334, and being received very graciously by the French king, Philip Vl. Little is known about the life of the Scottish king in France, except that Château-Gaillard was given to him for a residence, and that he was present at the bloodless meeting of the English and French armies in October 1339 at Vironfosse, now known as Buironfosse, in the Arrondissement of Vervins.

David II died unexpectedly and at the height of his power in Edinburgh Castle on 22 February 1371. He was buried in Holyrood Abbey. At the time of his death, he was planning to marry his mistress, Agnes Dunbar (daughter of Agnes Dunbar, 4th Countess of Moray). He left no children and was succeeded by his nephew, Robert II. He was the last male of the House of Bruce.