Robert Stuart 1st duke of Albany

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Robert Stuart, 1st duke of Albany, 1340?–1420, regent of Scotland; third son of Robert II. As earl of Fife and Monteith, he held commands under his father and more than once raided England, leading the invasion of 1388. Because of his father's old age he was given the power of government in 1389; he continued it during the reign of Robert III, his infirm brother. Made duke of Albany in 1398, in 1399 he was forced to give up the regency to his nephew, David Stuart, duke of Rothesay. Rothesay died (1402) in the custody of Albany and Archibald Douglas, 4th earl of Douglas, both of whom were officially declared guiltless of his death. Albany became governor or warden again and continued in that position after Robert III's death because the new king, James I, was a prisoner in England. During Albany's rule the struggle with England went on, and the Scottish alliance with France was continued. At home he allowed the nobles much power but put down (1411) a rebellion of Donald MacDonald, lord of the Isles. Apparently Albany tried to make his sovereignty hereditary in all but name, and he was succeeded as regent by his son Murdoch, 2d duke of Albany. The latter proved a weak ruler, however, and was executed (1425) after James I's return to Scotland.

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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