Royal Standard of the King of Scots

The monarch of Scotland was the head of state of the Kingdom of Scotland. According to tradition, the first King of Scots (Middle Scots: King of Scottis, Modern Scots: Keeng o Scots) was Kenneth MacAlpin (Cináed mac Ailpín), who founded the state in 843. The distinction between the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of the Picts is rather the product of later medieval myth and confusion from a change in nomenclature, i.e. Rex Pictorum (King of the Picts) becomes ri Alban (King of Alba) under Donald II when annals switched from Latin to vernacular around the end of the 9th century, by which time the word Alba in Gaelic had come to refer to the Kingdom of the Picts rather than Britain (its older meaning).[1]

The Kingdom of the Picts just became known as Kingdom of Alba in Gaelic, which later became known in Scots and English as Scotland; the terms are retained in both languages to this day. By the late 11th century at the very latest, Scottish kings were using the term rex Scottorum, or King of Scots, to refer to themselves in Latin. The title of King of Scots fell out of use in 1707, when the Kingdom of Scotland was merged with the Kingdom of England to form a single Kingdom of Great Britain. Thus Queen Anne became the last monarch of the ancient kingdoms of Scotland and England and the first of Great Britain, although the kingdoms had shared a monarch since 1603 (see Union of the Crowns). Her uncle Charles II was the last Scottish monarch actually to be crowned in Scotland, at Scone in 1651.


Coronation Oath[]

The Coronation Oath sworn by every King of Scots from James VI to Charles II and was approved by the Parliament of Scotland in 1567:

I, N.N., promise faithfully, in the presence of the eternal, my God, that I, enduring the whole Course of my Life, shall serve the same Eternal, my God, to the utmost of my Power, accordingly as he required in his most Holy Word, revealed and contained in the New and Old Testament; and according to the same Word shall maintain the true Religion of Jesus Christ, the preaching of his Holy Word, and due and right administration of his Sacraments, now received and practised within this Realm; and shall abolish and oppose all false Religion contrary to the same; and shall rule the People committed to my Charge, according to the Will and Command of God, revealed in his foresaid Word, and according to the lovable Laws and Constitutions received in this Realm, in no way repugnant to the said Word of the Eternal, my God; and shall procure to my utmost to the Kirk of God and whole Christian people true and perfect Peace in all times coming; the Rights and Rents, with all just privileges of the Crown of Scotland, I shall preserve and keep inviolate, neither shall I transfer nor alienate the same; I shall forbid and repress in all Estates and all Degrees theft, Oppression and all kind of Wrong; in all Judgments, I shall command and procure that Justice and Equity be kept to all creatures without exception, as he be merciful to me and you that is the Lord and Father of all Mercies; and out of all my lands and empire I shall be careful to root out all Heresy and Enemies to the true Worship of God, that shall be convicted by the true Kirk of God of the foresaid Crimes; and these Things above-written I faithfully affirm by my solemn Oath.

The Coronation Oath sworn by William II and Anne was approved by the Parliament of Scotland on 18 April 1689.[2] The oath was as follows:

WE William and Mary, King and Queen of Scotland, faithfully promise and swear, by this our solemn Oath, in presence of the Eternal God, that during the whole Course of our Life we will serve the same Eternal God, to the uttermost of our Power, according as he has required in his most Holy Word, revealed and contained in the New and Old Testament; and according to the same Word shall maintain the true Religion of Christ Jesus, the preaching of his Holy Word, and the due and right Ministration of the Sacraments, now received and preached within the Realm of Scotland; and shall abolish and gainstand all false Religion contrary to the same, and shall rule the People committed to our Charge, according to the Will and Command of God, revealed in his aforesaid Word, and according to the laudable Laws and Constitutions received in this Realm, no ways repugnant to the said Word of the Eternal God; and shall procure, to the utmost of our power, to the Kirk of God, and whole Christian People, true and perfect Peace in all time coming. That we shall preserve and keep inviolated the Rights and Rents, with all just Privileges of the Crown of Scotland, neither shall we transfer nor alienate the same; that we shall forbid and repress in all Estates and Degrees, Reif, Oppression and all kind of Wrong. And we shall command and procure, that Justice and Equity in all Judgments be kept to all Persons without exception, us the Lord and Father of all Mercies shall be merciful to us. And we shall be careful to root out all Heretics and Enemies to the true Worship of God, that shall be convicted by the true Kirk of God, of the aforesaid Crimes, out of our Lands and Empire of Scotland. And we faithfully affirm the Things above-written by our solemn Oath.

List of monarchs of Scotland[]

House of Alpin (848–1034)[]

The reign of Kenneth MacAlpin begins what is often called the House of Alpin, an entirely modern concept. The descendants of Kenneth MacAlpin were divided into two branches; the crown would alternate between the two, the death of a king from one branch often hastened by war or assassination by a pretender from the other. Malcolm II was the last king of the House of Alpin; in his reign, he successfully crushed all opposition to him and, having no sons, was able to pass the crown to his daughter's son, Duncan I, who inaugurated the House of Dunkeld.

Portrait Traditional modern English regnal name
(with modern Gaelic equivalent)
Medieval Gaelic name Dynastic Status Reign Title Epithet
Kenneth MacAlpin I
(Coinneach mac Ailpein)[3]
Cináed mac Ailpín
Ciniod m. Ailpin
son of Alpin king of Dal Riata 843/848 – 13 February 858 Rex Pictorum
("King of the Picts")
An Ferbasach
"The Conqueror"[4]
Donald I
(Dòmhnall mac Ailpein)
Domnall mac Ailpín son of Alpin king of Dal Riata, and brother of Kenneth I 858 – 13 April 862 Rex Pictorum
("King of the Picts")
Causantín mac Cináeda Constantine I
(Còiseam mac Choinnich)
Causantín mac Cináeda Son of Kenneth I 862–877 Rex Pictorum
("King of the Picts")
An Finn-Shoichleach,
"The Wine-Bountiful"[5]
(Aodh mac Choinnich)
Áed mac Cináeda Son of Kenneth I 877–878 Rex Pictorum
("King of the Picts")
(Griogair mac Dhunghail)
Giric mac Dúngail Son of Donald I 878–889 Mac Rath,
"Son of Fortune"[6]
Eochaid Eochaid mac Run † grandson of Kenneth I *878–889?
Domnall Dásachtach Donald II
(Dòmhnall mac Chòiseim)
Domnall mac Causantín Son of Constantine I 889–900 Rí Alban
("King of Scotland")

Rì nan Albannaich
("King of Scots")
the "Madman" or "Psycho"[7]
Constantine II of Scotland Constantine II
(Còiseam mac Aoidh)
Causantín mac Áeda Son of Áed 900–943 Rí Alban An Midhaise,
"the Middle Aged".[8]
Malcolm I Malcolm I
(Maol Chaluim mac Dhòmhnaill)
Máel Coluim mac Domnaill Son of Donald II 943–954 Rí Alban An Bodhbhdercc,
"the Dangerous Red"[9]
An Ionsaighthigh Indulf[10] Ildulb mac Causantín Son of Constantine II 954–962 Rí Alban An Ionsaighthigh,
"the Aggressor"[11]
(Dubh or Duff)
(Dubh mac Mhaoil Chaluim)
Dub mac Maíl Choluim Son of Malcolm I 962–967 Rí Alban Dén,
"the Vehement"[12]
Cuilén mac Ilduilb Son of Indulf 967–971 Rí Alban An Fionn,
"the White"[13]
Amlaíb mac Ilduilb Son of Indulf * 973x–977 Rí Alban
Kenneth II of Scotland Kenneth II
(Coinneach mac Mhaoil Chaluim)
Cináed mac Maíl Choluim Son of Malcolm I 971 x 977–995 Rí Alban An Fionnghalach,
"The Fratricide"[14]
Constantine III (Alba) Constantine III
(Còiseam mac Chailein)
Causantín mac Cuiléin Son of Cuilén 995–997 Rí Alban
Kenneth III of Scotland Kenneth III
(Coinneach mac Dhuibh)
Cináed mac Duib Son of Dub 997 – 25 March 1005 Rí Alban An Donn,
"the Chief"/ "the Brown".[15]
Malcolm II of Scotland Malcolm II
(Maol Chaluim mac Choinnich)
Máel Coluim mac Cináeda Son of Kenneth II 1005–1034 Rí Alban / Rex Scotiae Forranach,
"the Destroyer";[16]

* Evidence for Eochaid's reign is unclear: he may never have actually been King. If he was, he was co-King with Giric. Amlaíb is known only by a reference to his death in 977, which reports him as King of Alba; since Kenneth II is known to have still been King in 972–973, Amlaíb must have taken power between 973 and 977.

† Eochiad was a son of Run, King of Strathclyde, but his mother was a daughter of Kenneth I.

House of Dunkeld (1034–1286)[]

Duncan succeeded to the throne as the maternal grandson of Malcolm II (he was also the heir-general of Malcolm I, as his paternal grandfather, Duncan of Atholl was the third son of Malcolm I.[17] The House of Dunkeld was therefore a continuation of the House of Alpine). After an unsuccessful reign, Duncan was killed in battle by Macbeth, who had a long and relatively successful reign. In a series of battles between 1057 and 1058, Duncan's son Malcolm III defeated and killed Macbeth and Macbeth's stepson and heir Lulach, and claimed the throne. The dynastic feuds did not end there: on Malcolm's death in battle, his brother Donald Ban claimed the throne, expelling Malcolm's sons from Scotland; a civil war in the family ensued, with Donald Ban and Malcolm's son Edmund opposed by Malcolm's English-backed sons, led first by Duncan II and then by Edgar. Edgar triumphed, sending his uncle and brother to monasteries. After the reign of David I, the Scottish throne was passed according to rules of primogeniture, moving from father to son, or where not possible, brother to brother.

Portrait Modern English
Regnal Name
Medieval Title
Modern Gaelic Name
Medieval Gaelic Name
Dynastic Status
(Father's Family)
Maternal Status
(Mother's Family)
Donnchad I Duncan I
Rí Alban
Donnchadh mac Crìonain
Donnchad mac Crínáin

An t-Ilgarach
"The Diseased" or "The Sick" [18]
Grandson of Malcolm II Son of Bethóc, Eldest Daughter of Malcolm II
(House of Alpin)
File:Mac Bethad mac Findlaích.jpg Macbeth
Rí Alban
MacBheatha mac Fhionnlaigh
Mac Bethad mac Findláich

Rí Deircc
"The Red King"[19]
1)Son of Mormaer Findláech
2)Grandson of Malcolm II
3)Husband to Gruoch, granddaughter of Kenneth III
?,Unknown Daughter or Granddaughter of Malcolm II
(House of Alpin)
Rí Alban
Lughlagh mac Gille Chomghain
Lulach mac Gille Comgaín

"The Unfortunate"[19]
"the Foolish"[20]
1)Son of Gille Coemgáin, Mormaer of Moray
2) Grandson of Kenneth III
(House of Alpin)
Son of Gruoch, Granddaughter of Kenneth III 1057–1058
Malcolm III and Queen Margaret from the Seton Armorial, 1591 Malcolm III
Rí Alban
Scottorum basileus
Maol Chaluim mac Dhonnchaidh
Máel Coluim mac Donnchada

? Cenn Mór ("Canmore")
"Great Chief"[21]
Son of Duncan I Son of Sybil/Suthen, sister of Siward "Earl of Northumbria"
(House of Cnut the Great)
Donald III
(Dòmhnall mac Dhonnchaidh)
(Domnall mac Donnchada)
Son of Duncan I 1093–1097
Rí Alban Bán,
"the Fair".
Donnchad II Duncan II
(Donnchadh mac Mhaoil Chaluim)
(Donnchad mac Maíl Choluim)
Son of Malcolm III 1094
Rí Alba n/ Rex Scottorum
King Edgar of Scotland Edgar
(Eagar mac Mhaoil Chaluim)
(Étgar mac Maíl Choluim)
Son of Malcolm III 1097–1107
Rí Alban/ Rex Scottorum Probus,
"the Valiant"[22]
Alexander I (Alba) i Alexander I
(Alasdair mac Mhaoil Chaluim)
(Alaxandair mac Maíl Choluim)
Son of Malcolm III 1107–1124
Rí Alban/ Rex Scottorum "The Fierce"[23]
DavidIofScotland David I
(Dàibhidh mac Mhaoil Chaluim)
(Dabíd mac Maíl Choluim)
Son of Malcolm III 1124–1153
Rí Alban/ Rex Scottorum "The Saint"[24]
Malcolm iv Malcolm IV
(Maol Chaluim mac Eanraig)
(Máel Coluim mac Eanric)
Grandson of David I 1153–1165
Rí Alban/ Rex Scottorum Virgo
"The Maiden"
Cenn Mór,
"Great Chief"[25]
William the Lion portrait William I
"The Lion"
(Uilleam mac Eanraig)
(Uilliam mac Eanric)
Grandson of David I 1165–1214
Rí Alban / Rex Scottorum "The Lion"
"the Rough"[26]
Alexander II (Alba) i Alexander II
(Alasdair mac Uilleim)
(Alaxandair mac Uilliam)
Son of William I 1214–1249
Rí Alban / Rex Scottorum
Alexander III, King of Scots Alexander III
(Alasdair mac Alasdair)
(Alaxandair mac Alaxandair)
Son of Alexander II 1249–1286
Rí Alban / Rex Scottorum

House of Sverre (1286–1290), disputed[]

The last King of the House of Dunkeld was Alexander III. His wife had borne him two sons and a daughter; but by 1286 his sons were dead and his daughter, Margaret, had borne only a single daughter, also named Margaret, to her husband Eric II of Norway before herself dying. Alexander had himself remarried, but in early 1286 he died in an accident while riding home. His wife, Yolande of Dreux, was pregnant; but by November 1286 all hope of her bearing a living child had passed. Accordingly, in the Treaty of Salisbury, the Guardians of Scotland recognised Alexander's three year old granddaughter, Margaret of Norway, as Queen of Scots. Margaret remained in her father's Kingdom of Norway until Autumn 1290, when she was dispatched to Scotland. However, she died on the journey in Orkney, having never set foot on Scottish soil, and without being crowned at Scone. She is thus sometimes not considered Queen.

Name Portrait Birth Marriage(s) Death Dynastic status
the Maid of Norway
Margaret, Maid of Norway imaginary c. April 1283
daughter of Eric II of Norway and Margaret of Scotland
unmarried September/October 1290
aged 7
granddaughter of Alexander III

First Interregnum (1290–1292)[]

House of Balliol (1292–1296)[]

The death of Margaret of Norway began a two-year interregnum in Scotland caused by a succession crisis. With her death, the descent of William I went extinct; nor was there an obvious heir by primogeniture. Thirteen candidates presented themselves; the most prominent were John de Balliol, great-grandson of William I's younger brother David of Huntingdon, and Robert de Brus, Lord of Annandale, David of Huntingdon's grandson. The Scottish Magnates invited Edward I of England to arbitrate the claims; he did so, but forced the Scots to swear allegiance to him as overlord. Eventually, it was decided that John de Balliol should become King; he proved weak and incapable, and in 1296 was forced to abdicate by Edward I, who then attempted to annex Scotland into the Kingdom of England.

Name Portrait Birth Marriage(s) Death Dynastic status
John Balliol
Toom Tabard ("Empty Cloak")
(Iain Balliol)
SetonArmorialJohnBalliolAndWife c. 1249 Isabella de Warenne
9 February 1281
at least one child[27]

c. 25 November 1314
Picardy, France

great-grandson of David of Huntingdon (brother of William I)

Second Interregnum (1296–1306)[]

House of Bruce (1306–1371)[]

For ten years, Scotland had no King of its own. The Scots, however, refused to tolerate English rule; first William Wallace and then, after his execution, Robert the Bruce (the grandson of the 1292 competitor) fought against the English. Bruce and his supporters killed a rival for the throne, John III Comyn, Lord of Badenoch on 10 February 1306 at Greyfriars Church in Dumfries. Shortly after in 1306, Robert was crowned King of Scots at Scone. His energy, and the corresponding replacement of the vigorous Edward I with his weaker son Edward II, allowed Scotland to free itself from English rule; at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, the Scots routed the English, and by 1329 the English had agreed by treaty to accept Scottish independence. Robert's successor, his son David, was a child at his succession. The English renewed their war with Scotland, and David was forced to flee the Kingdom by Edward Balliol, son of King John, who managed to get himself crowned King of Scots (1332–1336) and to give away Scotland's southern counties to England before being driven out again. David spent much of his life in exile, first in freedom with his ally, France, and then in gaol in England; he was only able to return to Scotland in 1357. Upon his death, childless, in 1371, the House of Bruce came to an end.

Name Portrait Birth Marriage(s) Death Dynastic status
Robert I
the Bruce
(Raibeart a Briuis)
Robert I and Isabella of Mar 11 July 1274
Turnberry Castle, Ayrshire
son of Robert de Brus, 6th Lord of Annandale and Marjorie, Countess of Carrick[28]
Isabella of Mar
one daughter

Elizabeth de Burgh
Writtle, Essex, England
four children
7 June 1329
Manor of Cardross, Dunbartonshire
aged 54
great-great-grandson of David of Huntingdon (brother of William I)
David II
(Dàibhidh Bruis)
David II of Scotland by Sylvester Harding 1797 5 March 1324
Dunfermline Palace, Fife
son of Robert I and Elizabeth de Burgh
Joan of England
17 July 1328
no children

Margaret Drummond
Inchmurdach, Fife
20 February 1364
no children
22 February 1371
Edinburgh Castle
aged 46
son of Robert I (primogeniture)

House of Stewart/Stuart[]

Stewart (1371–1567)[]

Robert the Stewart was a grandson of Robert I by the latter's daughter, Marjorie. Having been born in 1316, he was older than his uncle, David II; consequently, he was at his accession an old man, unable to reign vigorously, a problem also faced by his son Robert III, who had suffered lasting damage in a horse-riding accident. These two were followed by a series of regencies, caused by the youth of the succeeding kings. Consequently, the Stewart era saw periods of royal inertia, during which the nobles usurped power from the crown, followed by periods of personal rule by the monarch, during which he or she would attempt to address the issues created by their own minority and the long-term effects of previous reigns. Governing Scotland became increasingly difficult, as the powerful nobility became increasingly intractable; James I's attempts to curb the disorder of the realm ended in his assassination; James III was killed in a civil war between himself and the nobility, led by his own son; when James IV, who had governed sternly and suppressed the aristocrats, died in the Battle of Flodden, his wife Margaret Tudor, who had been nominated regent for their young son James V, was unseated by noble feuding, and James V's own wife, Mary of Guise, succeeded in ruling Scotland during the regency for her young daughter Mary I only by dividing and conquering the noble factions, and by distributing French bribes with a liberal hand. Finally, Mary I, the daughter of James V, found herself unable to govern Scotland faced with the surliness of the aristocracy and the intransigence of the population, who favoured Calvinism and disapproved of her Catholicism; she was forced to abdicate, and fled to England, where she was executed for treason against the English queen Elizabeth I. Upon her abdication, her son, fathered by a junior member of the Stewart family, became King.

Name Portrait Birth Marriage(s) Death Dynastic status
Robert II
the Steward
(Raibeart II Stiùbhairt)
Robert and Euphemia 2 March 1316
Paisley, Renfrewshire
son of Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland and Marjorie Bruce
Elizabeth Mure
1336 (uncertain canonicity)
1349 (with Papal dispensation)
ten children

Euphemia de Ross
2 May 1355
four children
19 April 1390
Dundonald Castle, Ayrshire
aged 74
grandson of Robert I (primogeniture)
Robert III (born John Stewart)
the Lame King
(Raibeart III Stiùbhairt, An Righ Bhacaigh)
Robert III and Annabella Drummond c. 1337
son of Robert II and Elizabeth Mure
Anabella Drummond
seven children
4 April 1406
Rothesay Castle
aged about 69
son of Robert II (primogeniture)
James I
(Seumas I Stiùbhairt)
King James I of Scotland late July 1394
Dunfermline Palace, Fife
son of Robert III and Anabella Drummond
Joan Beaufort
Southwark Cathedral
2 February 1424
eight children
21 February 1437
Blackfriars, Perth
aged about 42
son of Robert III (primogeniture)
James II
Fiery Face
(Seumas II Stiùbhairt)
James II of Scotland 17th century 16 October 1430
Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh
son of James I and Joan Beaufort
Mary of Guelders
Holyrood Abbey
3 July 1449
seven children
3 August 1460
Roxburgh Castle
aged 29
son of James I (primogeniture)
James III
(Seumas III Stiùbhairt)
James III of Scotland 10 July 1451
Stirling Castle or St Andrews Castle
son of James II and Mary of Guelders
Margaret of Scotland
Holyrood Abbey
13 July 1469
three children
11 June 1488
Sauchie Burn
aged 36
son of James II (primogeniture)
James IV
(Seumas IV Stiùbhairt)
James IV of Scotland 17 March 1473
Stirling Castle
son of James III and Margaret of Denmark
Margaret Tudor
Holyrood Abbey
8 August 1503
six children
9 September 1513
Flodden Field, Northumberland, England
aged 40
son of James III (primogeniture)
James V
(Seumas V Stiùbhairt)
James V of Scotland2 15 April 1512
Linlithgow Palace, West Lothian
son of James IV and Margaret Tudor
Madeleine of Valois
Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France
1 January 1537
no children

Mary of Guise
Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France
18 May 1538
three children
14 December 1542
Falkland Palace, Fife
aged 30
son of James IV (primogeniture)
Mary I
(Màiri Stiùbhairt)
Mary Queen of Scots Blairs Museum 8 December 1542
Linlithgow Palace
daughter of James V and Mary of Guise
François II, King of France
24 April 1558
no children

Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley
Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh
9 July 1565
one child

James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell
Holyrood Palace
15 May 1567
no children
8 February 1587
Fotheringhay Castle, Northamptonshire, England
aged 44 (executed)
daughter of James V (cognatic primogeniture)

Stuart (1567–1651)[]

The Stewarts of Lennox were a junior branch of the Stewart family; they were not, however, direct male line descendants of Robert II, the first Stewart who became King of Scots, but rather that of his ancestor Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland. In the past, through the means of the Auld Alliance with France, they had adapted their surname to the French form, Stuart. Consequently, when the son of the Earl of Lennox, Henry, Lord Darnley, married the Queen of Scots, Mary I, their son, as the first King of the Lennox branch of the Stewart family, ruled as a Stuart.

James VI also became King of England and Ireland as James I in 1603, when his cousin Elizabeth I died; thereafter, although the two crowns of England and Scotland remained separate, the monarchy was based chiefly in England.

Charles I, James's son, found himself faced with Civil War; the resultant conflict lasted eight years, and ended in his execution. The English Parliament then decreed their monarchy to be at an end; the Scots Parliament, after some deliberation, broke their links with England, and declared that Charles II, son and heir of Charles I, would become King. He ruled until 1651; however, the armies of Oliver Cromwell occupied Scotland and drove him into exile.

Name Portrait Birth Marriage(s) Death Dynastic status
James VI
(Seumas VI Stiùbhairt)
JamesIEngland 19 June 1566
Edinburgh Castle
son of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley and Mary I
Anne of Denmark
Old Bishop's Palace, Oslo, Norway
23 November 1589
seven children
27 March 1625
Theobalds House, Hertfordshire, England
aged 58
son of Mary I (primogeniture)
Charles I
(Teàrlach I Stiùbhairt)
King Charles I by Antoon van Dyck 19 November 1600
Dunfermline Palace, Dunfermline
son of James VI and Anne of Denmark
Henrietta Maria of France
St Augustine's Church, Canterbury, England
13 June 1625
nine children
30 January 1649
Palace of Whitehall, London, England
aged 48 (executed)
son of James VI (primogeniture)
Charles II
(Teàrlach II Stiùbhairt)
Charles II of England 29 May 1630
St James's Palace, London, England
son of Charles I and Henrietta Maria of France
Catherine of Braganza
Portsmouth, England
14 May 1662
no children
6 February 1685
Palace of Whitehall, London, England
aged 54
son of Charles I (primogeniture)

House of Stuart (restored) (1660–1707)[]

With the Restoration, the Stuarts became Kings of Scotland once more. But Scotland's rights were not respected: the Scottish Parliament was, during the reign of Charles II, dissolved, and his brother James was appointed Governor of Scotland. James himself became James VII in 1685; his Catholicism was not tolerated, and he was driven out of England after three years. In his place came his daughter Mary and her husband William of Orange, the ruler of the Dutch Republic; they were accepted as monarchs of Scotland after a period of deliberation by the Scottish Parliament, and ruled together as William II and Mary II.

An attempt to establish a Scottish colonial empire through the Darien Scheme, in rivalry to that of England, failed, leaving the Scottish state bankrupt. This coincided with the accession of Queen Anne, daughter of James VII. Anne had multiple children but none of these survived her, and on her death her nearest heir was her halfbrother, James, in exile in France. The English favoured the Protestant Sophia of Hanover (a granddaughter of James VI) as heir; many Scots preferred Prince James, who as a Stuart was a Scot by ancestry, and threatened to break the Union of Crowns between England and Scotland by choosing him for themselves. To preserve the union, the English elaborated a plan whereby the two Kingdoms of Scotland and England would merge into a single Kingdom, the Kingdom of Great Britain, ruled by a common monarch, and with a single Parliament. Both national parliaments agreed to this (the Scots albeit reluctantly, motivated primarily by the national finances), the Kingdoms of Scotland and England merged and came to an end. Thereafter, although monarchs continued to rule over the nation of Scotland, they did so first as monarchs of Great Britain, and from 1801 of the United Kingdom.

Name Portrait Birth Marriage(s) Death Dynastic status
Charles II
(Teàrlach II Stiùbhairt)
Charles II of England 29 May 1630
St James's Palace, London, England
son of Charles I and Henrietta Maria of France
Catherine of Braganza
Portsmouth, England
14 May 1662
no children
6 February 1685
Palace of Whitehall, London, England
aged 54
son of Charles I (primogeniture)
James VII
(Seumas VII Stiùbhairt)
James II (Gennari Benedetto) 14 October 1633
St James's Palace, London, England
son of Charles I and Henrietta Maria of France
Anne Hyde
The Strand, London, England
3 September 1660
eight children

Mary of Modena
Dover, England
21 November 1673
seven children<
16 September 1701
Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France
aged 67
son of Charles I (primogeniture)
Mary II
(Màiri II Stiùbhairt)
Mary II - Kneller 1690 30 April 1662
St James's Palace, England
daughter of James VII (II of England) and Anne Hyde
St James's Palace
4 November 1677
three children (none survived infancy)
28 December 1694
Kensington Palace, England
aged 32
grandchildren of Charles I (offered the crown by the Parliament)
William III
(Uilleam Orains, "William of Orange")
King William III of England, (1650-1702) 4 November 1650
The Hague, Dutch Republic
son of William II, Prince of Orange and Mary, Princess Royal
8 March 1702
Kensington Palace
aged 51
(Anna Stiùbhairt)
Queen of Great Britain and Ireland
Anne1705 6 February 1665
St James's Palace
daughter of James VII and Anne Hyde
George of Denmark
St James's Palace
28 July 1683
17 children
1 August 1714
Kensington Palace
aged 49
daughter of James VII (primogeniture; Bill of Rights 1689)

For the British monarchs see List of British monarchs.

Jacobite claimants[]

James VII continued to claim the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland. When he died in 1701, his son James inherited his father's claims, and called himself James VIII of Scotland and III of England and Ireland. He would continue to do so all his life, even after the Kingdoms of England and Scotland were ended by their merging as the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1715, a year after the death of his sister, Queen Anne, and the accession of their cousin George of Hanover, James landed in Scotland and attempted to claim the throne; he failed, and was forced to flee back to the Continent. A second attempt by his son, Charles on behalf of his father, in 1745, also failed. Both James's children died without legitimate issue, bringing the Stuart family to an end.

  • James VIII (Seumas VIII), also known as The Old Pretender, son of James VII, was claimant from 1701 until his death in 1766.
  • Charles III (Teàrlach III), also known as The Young Pretender and often called Bonnie Prince Charlie, son of James VIII, was claimant from his father's death until his own death in 1788 without legitimate issue.
  • Henry I (Eanraig I), brother of Charles III and youngest son of James VIII. Died unmarried in 1807.

After 1807, the Jacobite claims passed first to the House of Savoy (1807–1840), then to the Modenese branch of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine (1840–1919), and finally to the House of Wittelsbach (since 1919). The current heir is Franz, Duke of Bavaria. Neither he nor any of his predecessors since 1807 have pursued their claim.

Other claimants[]

  • Idi Amin Dada consistently claimed, starting in 1976, to be the "uncrowned King of Scotland."
  • Michel Roger Lafosse has since 1979 claimed to be Prince of Albany and heir to the Scottish throne.

Timeline of Scottish Monarchs[]

Anne, Queen of Great BritainMary II of EnglandWilliam III of EnglandJames II of EnglandCharles II of EnglandRichard CromwellOliver CromwellCharles II of EnglandCharles I of EnglandJames I of EnglandMary, Queen of ScotsJames V of ScotlandJames IV of ScotlandJames III of ScotlandJames II of ScotlandJames I of ScotlandRobert III of ScotlandRobert II of ScotlandDavid II of ScotlandRobert I of ScotlandJohn of ScotlandMargaret, Maid of NorwayAlexander III of ScotlandAlexander II of ScotlandWilliam I of ScotlandMalcolm IV of ScotlandDavid I of ScotlandAlexander I of ScotlandEdgar of ScotlandDuncan II of ScotlandDonald III of ScotlandMalcolm III of ScotlandLulach of ScotlandMacbeth of ScotlandDuncan I of ScotlandMalcolm II of ScotlandKenneth III of ScotlandConstantine III of ScotlandKenneth II of ScotlandAmlaíb of ScotlandCuilén of ScotlandDub of ScotlandIndulf of ScotlandMalcolm I of ScotlandConstantine II of ScotlandDonald II of ScotlandEochaid of ScotlandGiric of ScotlandÁed of ScotlandConstantine I of ScotlandDonald I of ScotlandKenneth I of ScotlandHouse of StuartOliver CromwellHouse of StuartHouse of StewartHouse of BruceGuardian of ScotlandJohn de BalliolGuardian of ScotlandHouse of FairhairHouse of DunkeldHouse of Alpin

Acts of Union[]

The Acts of Union were twin Parliamentary Acts passed during 1706 and 1707 by the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland, putting into effect the terms of the Treaty of Union, agreed on 22 July 1706, following prolonged negotiation between Queen Anne's Commissioners representing both parliaments. The Acts joined the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland to form a united Kingdom of Great Britain.[29]

Scotland and England had shared a common monarch since the Union of the Crowns in 1603, when James VI, King of Scots, inherited the English throne from his first cousin twice removed, Queen Elizabeth I of England. Although described as a Union of Crowns, prior to the Acts of Union of 1707, the crowns of the two separate kingdoms had rested on the same head. Three unsuccessful attempts (in 1606, 1667, and 1689) were made to unite the two kingdoms by Acts of Parliament, but it was not until the early 18th century that the idea had the will of both political establishments to succeed, thereby bringing the two separate states together under a single parliament as well as a single monarch.

See also[]


  1. ^ Broun, Scottish Independence. pp. 71–97.
  2. ^ Scottish Parliament Project.
  3. ^ Properly speaking, Coinneach should actually be Cionaodh, since Coinneach is historically a separate name. However, in the modern language, both names have converged.
  4. ^ Skene, Chronicles, p. 83.
  5. ^ Skene, Chronicles, p. 85.
  6. ^ Skene, Chronicles, p. 87.
  7. ^ Hudson, Celtic Kings, p. 58.
  8. ^ Skene, Chronicles, p. 91; Hudson, Celtic Kings, p. 65.
  9. ^ Skene, Chronicles, p. 93.
  10. ^ His name is a Gaelicisation of the Norse name Hildufr (or perhaps English Eadulf); it occurs in various contemporary Gaelic forms, such as Iondolbh, found in the Duan Albanach; Ildulb is used because by some historians because it correctly represents the name Hildulfr in Gaelic orthography; Eadwulf would perhaps be Idulb, hence that form is also used sometimes. The name never came into wider use in the Scottish world, or the Gaelic world more generally, and has no modern form. The name "Indulf" is a spelling produced by later medieval French influence; Hudson, Celtic Kings, p, 89.
  11. ^ Skene, Chronicles, p. 94.
  12. ^ Duan Albanach, 23 here; as Dub means "Black", "Dub the Black" is tautologous.
  13. ^ Skene, Chronicles, p. 95.
  14. ^ Skene, Chronicles, p. 96.
  15. ^ Former probable because later English (speaking) sources called him "Grim"; Old Irish donn has similar meaning to Old Irish greimm, which means "power" or "authority"; see Skene, Chronicles, p. 98; Hudson, Celtic Kings, p. 105.
  16. ^ Skene, Chronicles, pp. 99–100.
  17. ^
  18. ^ Skene, Chronicles, p. 101.
  19. ^ a b Skene, Chronicles, p. 102.
  20. ^ Anderson, Early Sources, vol. i, p. 603.
  21. ^ This name was probably only originally applied to Mael Coluim IV, Mael Coluim III's grandson, and then later confused; see Duncan, Kingship of the Scots, pp. 51–52, 74–75; Oram, David I, p. 17, note 1. Cenn Mór certainly means "great chief" rather than "big head", as sometimes thought.
  22. ^ Anderson, Early Sources, vol. ii, p. 141.
  23. ^ This nickname however is not attested for another three centuries, in the work of Andrew of Wyntoun.
  24. ^ Later nickname. Latin Sanctus also means simply "Holy". David was never canonised.
  25. ^ See Duncan, Kingship of the Scots, pp. 51–52, 74–75; Oram, David I, p. 17, note 1. Cenn Mór certainly means "great chief" rather than "big head", as sometimes thought.
  26. ^ Annals of Ulster, s.a. 1214.6; Annals of Loch Cé, s.a. 1213.10.
  27. ^ Cawley, Charles (August 2012), English Earls 1067-1122, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy,, retrieved August 2012 ,
  28. ^ Robert The Bruce. Publisher: Heinemann. ISBN 0-431-05883-0.
  29. ^ Welcome, accessed 7 October 2008


  • Anderson, Alan Orr, Early Sources of Scottish History: AD 500–1286, 2 Vols, (Edinburgh, 1922)
  • Broun, Dauvit (2007), Scottish Independence and the Idea of Britain. From the Picts to Alexander III., Edinburgh University Press, ISBN 978-0-7486-2360-0 
  • Hudson, Benjamin T., Kings of Celtic Scotland, (Westport, 1994)
  • Skene, W. F. (ed.), Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and other Early Memorials of Scottish History, (Edinburgh, 1867)
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