Stuart Dynasty (England and Scotland)

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STUART DYNASTY (ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND). The Stuart dynasty was descended from Marjorie, daughter of Robert I (the Bruce) by her marriage to Walter Steward. Their son, Robert II, became king of Scotland in 1371, but the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries saw a succession of weak monarchs, four minors, and a polity dominated by rebellious nobles. James IV (ruled 14881513) was killed fighting against the English but had, in 1503, married Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII (ruled 14851509). Thus the Stuarts had a legitimate claim to the English throne. This became especially important during the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots (ruled 15421567), a feckless schemer who was deposed by her subjects in 1567. Her scheming to depose Elizabeth I of England led to her execution in 1587, but her son, James VI of Scotland, succeeded Elizabeth in 1603 as James I of England. The Stuart dual monarchy never came to terms with ruling two very different realms, and James's son, Charles I, was executed by his English subjects in 1649. The Stuarts were restored in 1660 but both Charles II (ruled 16601685) and his Catholic brother, James VII and II (ruled 16851688), proved less than effective rulers. James was deposed in 1688 and replaced by William III (ruled 16891702) and Mary II (ruled 16891694). William, the Dutch prince of Orange, was the grandson of Charles I, and Mary was the daughter of James II, but, more importantly, they were Protestants. William and Mary had no children, and the thrones of England and Scotland passed to Anne (ruled 17021714), younger daughter of James II. Anne also died childless, and while the English succession had been settled in 1701 on the Protestant Sophie of Hanover, granddaughter of James VI and I, many Scots continued to support the exiled Catholic descendents of James VII and II. In 1714 Sophie's son, the Hanoverian George I, became king of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, thus ending the rule of the Stuarts. The Stuarts still pressed their claim to the throne; however, any pretensions were effectively ended when the pretender Charles Edward Stuart, "Bonnie Prince Charlie," was defeated at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

See also Anne (England) ; Charles I (England) ; Charles II (England) ; England ; Hanoverian Dynasty (Great Britain) ; Jacobitism ; James I and VI (England and Scotland) ; James II (England) ; Scotland ; Tudor Dynasty (England) ; William and Mary .


Kishlansky, Mark. A Monarchy Transformed: Britain 16031714. London, 1997.

Lynch, Michael. Scotland: A New History. London, 1992.

David Grummitt