Robert III (14 August 1337 – April 1406), born John Stewart, was King of Scots from 1390 to his death. He was known primarily as the Earl of Carrick before ascending the throne at age 53. He was the eldest son of Robert II and Elizabeth Mure and was legitimated with the marriage of his parents in 1347.
In 1367, Robert III married Annabella Drummond, daughter of Sir John Drummond of Stobhall and Mary Montifex.
In 1368 his great-uncle King David II of Scotland created him Earl of Carrick, and he took some part in the government of the kingdom until about 1387, when a kick from a horse disabled him. Probably in consequence of this accident his brother Robert, Earl of Fife, and not the crown prince himself, became guardian of the kingdom in 1389; but the latter succeeded to the throne on his father's death in May 1390.
At this time he changed his baptismal name of John for that of Robert; "John" was unpopular owing to its connection with John de Baliol; he also wished to avoid being called John II, as recognition of Balliol's kingship would weaken the Bruce title to the throne. He was crowned at Scone in August 1390 as King Robert III. Although he probably attended several parliaments, the new king was seen only nominally as the ruler of Scotland, the real power remaining in the hands of his brother, the Earl of Fife.
In 1399, however, owing to the king's "sickness of the body", his elder son, David, Duke of Rothesay, gained appointment as lieutenant of the kingdom; but there followed an English invasion of Scotland, serious differences between Rothesay and his uncle, Robert, now Duke of Albany, and finally in March 1402 Rothesay's mysterious death at Falkland Palace.
Robert III began to fear for the fate of his only surviving son, young James. In February 1406 he had James taken in secrecy to Dirleton Castle to wait for a ship to transport him to France. Robert of Fife sent a large force after Crown Prince James and when a battle was fought near-by, James was put in a rowing boat and ferried to the Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth. The 11-year-old heir to the throne and his guardians were left for a month on the tiny, windswept, rocky island among the boiling seas, before a ship arrived trying to bring James to France. Robert of Fife informed the English King, who arranged the ship's interception. Thus James became a prisoner of the King of England for 18 years. When Robert III heard of his son's capture, he became even more depressed and allegedly died from grief over the capture of James. Robert asked to be buried under a dunghill with the epitaph: Here lies the worst of Kings and the most miserable of men. He was interred at Paisley instead of Scone, the traditional burial ground of the Scottish kings, as he did not consider himself worthy of the honour.
|Offspring of Robert III of Scotland and unknown parent|
|John Stewart (c1365-)|| |
|James Stewart (c1365-)|
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This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
Namesakes of Robert III of Scotland (1337-1406)