Albany, Robert Stewart, 1st duke of

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Albany, Robert Stewart, 1st duke of [S] (1339–1420). Third son of Robert II by his first wife Elizabeth Mure, and uncrowned ruler of Scotland for 32 years (1388–1420). While still a young man, Robert acquired the earldoms of Menteith [S] (1361) and Fife [S] (1371); he became royal chamberlain in 1382; and in December 1388 was made guardian for his infirm elder brother John, earl of Carrick [S] (later Robert III, 1390–1406). In 1398 Robert was created duke of Albany, a title which reflected his ambitions for his family in the north, especially in Buchan and Ross. Three years later his nephew and rival David, duke of Rothesay died while under arrest, and though Albany was exonerated, circumstances were suspicious.

Albany's guardianship—and from 1406 governorship for the captive, uncrowned James I—was characterized by intermittent hostility towards England, consistent support (until 1418) of the antipope Benedict XIII, a growing commitment to the French alliance, and a ruthless elimination of political opponents, probably in pursuit of his family's claim to the throne. This final ambition remained unfulfilled.

Norman Macdougall

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Robert Stuart 1st duke of Albany

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