King David II ( r. 1329 - 1371)

Robert Bruce's son, David II became king when only 5 years old. Born of the 5th March 1324 he was instated as the Earl of Carrick. Malcolm Fleming of Garscadden, keeper of Dumbarton Castle, became his 'foster-father' after the death of his mother in 1327.

Aged 4 years old, the young Earl was married to Edward III of England's 7 year old sister Joan; a political move that the Scots and English hoped would secure a peace between the two countries. On the death of Robert I, Thomas Randolph the trusted knight became Guardian to the new king.

David II was coronated in 1331 but this did not secure his kingship, for Edward Balliol - son of the abdicated King John - had arrived in England looking for support in a bid to reclaim the Balliol lineage to the throne. Some Scots nobles backed him, the so-called Disinherited, as Robert I had taken their lands when they did not support his cause.

The death of Sir Thomas Randolph in 1332, perhaps by poison, threw the Bruce camp into disarray. Taking advantage of the confusion Edward Balliol landed in Fife that same year. The new Guardian, Donald of Mar, was defeated by Edward at Dupplin, near Perth, on the 12th August. Using his father's regalia Edward crowned himself at Scone on the 24th September 1332.

David II was kept safe in Dumbarton Castle and Balliol was successfully forced back to England. He returned with an English army at Berwick and defeated the Scots at Halidon Hill in 1333. This forced David II to leave Dumbarton and live in exile in France, at the court of Philip VI. Edward's victory, however, was shortlived and Andrew Moray, son of the famous Guardian that fought with Wallace, defeated Balliol at Ballater in 1335. In 1337 Edward III of England removed his English troops to fight France in the Hundred Years War and with English backing gone Balliol's bid for the Scots throne crumbled.

Robert Stewart was now Guardian in David Bruce's exile. He secured much of Scotland for the young king. By 1341, when William Douglas took Edinburgh Castle in David II's name, it was safe enough for the king to return home.

David II began asserting his influence back in Scotland and successfully enforced his reign. Home matters more or less sorted, David II fought against the English in the Battle of Neville's Cross in 1346, helping the French fighting with the English on another front as part of the Auld Alliance. Unfortunately, he was wounded and taken prisoner. William Livingston of Drumry was appointed to secure the release of King David II - William's son Patrick was also a hostage in the ransom - and the release was secured in 1357 with the payment of a massive £66,000 to the English.

Back once more in Scotland, David Bruce began again to build his powerbase. Queen Joan died in 1362 and still without an heir David II married Margaret Logie a year later. This marriage proved equally fruitless and David II wanted an annullment by 1368, but due to Margaret's intransigence was denied. She was to die six years later, but by that time David Bruce was already dead; dying in 1371 aged only 46. As his closest relative the kingship passed to Robert Stewart, David II's old Guardian, a successor that David would not have wanted.