King David II

David II was the elder and only surviving son of Robert I and his second wife, Elizabeth de Burgh, born on 5 March 1324 after his parents had been married for 22 years. He was only four when he himself was married to Princess Joanna of England in accordance with the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton.

The following year, he became Scotland's first anointed king on the death of his father. Taking advantage of this royal minority, the English made several attempts to replace him with Edward Balliol (son of 'Toom Tabard'), and after Edward III defeated the Scots at the Battle of Halidon Hill near Berwick in 1333, David and Joanna were sent to the safety of France, where they remained until 1341, when it was judged safe for them to come home.

On 26 August 1346, Edward III defeated France at the battle of Crecy. David II, now aged 17, decided to invade England in support of his ally, France, but he was defeated and captured at the Battle of Neville's Cross, near Durham, on 17 October 1346. He was held prisoner in the south for eleven years, during which time Scotland was ruled by his nephew, Robert the Steward.

Finally, on 3 October 1357, the Scots agreed by the Treaty of Berwick to pay an enormous ransom of 100,000 merks for him, and he was allowed to return home. Heavy taxation was needed to provide funds for the ransom, which was to be paid in instalments, and David alienated his subjects by using the money for his own purposes. During the period 1357-71 he reformed the machinery of government.

Hoping to produce an alternative heir to his nephew (whom he disliked), David married his mistress Margaret Drummond (Queen Joan had died in 1362), whom he unsuccessfully tried to divorce when she failed to provide an heir.

David's concern over the succession, his growing friendship with Edward III, and his anger at the rebellion of some of his Earls, led to his attempted agreement with Edward III, which said that if David himself died childless, the King of England should succeed to the Scottish throne. The Scottish Parliament refused to ratify the proposals and when David did die childless in 1371, his nephew Robert the Steward became king.




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