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Kings and Queens
Scotland

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Kings and Queens of Scotland

See also Mary, Queen of Scots.

According to tradition, the Scottish nation was founded in 843 by Cináed mac Ailpí­n (Kenneth MacAlpin – literally, the son of Alpin). Kenneth was a Gael, who is thought to have become King of the Picts by matrilineal descent (as was the custom). (The Picts had inhabited northern and eastern Scotland since Roman times; the Gaels spread into Scotland from Ireland some time around the 5th century AD.)

Kenneth was succeeded by his brother Donald I, who in turn was succeeded by his son Giric. All subsequent kings (and sovereign queens) of Scotland were descended from Kenneth.

For comparison: England was ruled from 839 to 856 by Æthelwulf, the father of Alfred the Great. Alfred ruled from 871 to 899 (following three of his elder brothers in turn).

The following diagram shows how the first 23 kings of Scotland came from just 10 generations of the descendants of Alpin.

Kings and Queens of Scotland: pedigree

After David I, the succession was generally more orthodox.

The remainder of this page shows much of the same information, but in the more familiar "question and answer" format – and brings us up to James VI, who was also James I of England.

First King of Scotland843–858 Click to show or hide the answer
Brother of Kenneth I858–862 Click to show or hide the answer
Son of Kenneth I862–877 Click to show or hide the answer
Son of Constantine I889–900 Click to show or hide the answer
Son of Aed, grandson of Kenneth I, nephew of Constantine I, cousin of Donald II 900–943 Click to show or hide the answer
Son of Donald II943–954 Click to show or hide the answer

The kingdom of England was united under Edgar in 959.

Son of Malcolm I971–995 Click to show or hide the answer
995–997 Click to show or hide the answer
997–1005 Click to show or hide the answer
Son of Kenneth II; grandfather of Duncan I and Macbeth1005–34 Click to show or hide the answer
Defeated in battle, and killed, by his cousin Macbeth1034–40 Click to show or hide the answer
Grandson of Malcolm II; married Princess Gruoch, a descendant of Malcolm I – the model for Lady Macbeth 1040–57 Click to show or hide the answer
Macbeth's stepson (son of Gruoch)1057–58 Click to show or hide the answer
Son of Duncan; killed Macbeth in battle; known as 'Canmore' (Big Head); killed at Alnwick while invading Northumberland 1058–93 Click to show or hide the answer
Consort of Malcolm III, a member of the English royal family: died 1093, three days after the deaths in battle (at Alnwick) of her husband and eldest son; canonised 1250. Queensferry on the Firth of Forth (between the two bridges) is named after her Click to show or hide the answer

Malcolm III was King of Scotland at the time of the Norman Conquest of England.

Brother of Malcolm III1093–94 Click to show or hide the answer
Eldest son of Malcolm III (by his first wife Ingiborg Finnsdottir)1094 Click to show or hide the answer
(restored)1094–97 Click to show or hide the answer
Eldest surviving son of Malcolm III and St. Margaret1097–1107 Click to show or hide the answer
Third son of Malcolm III and St. Margaret; known as 'the Fierce'1107–24 Click to show or hide the answer
Fourth (youngest) son of Malcolm III and Margaret; brought up in the court of Henry I of England 1124–53 Click to show or hide the answer
Eldest son of Henry, son of David I1153–65 Click to show or hide the answer
Younger brother of Malcolm IV; father of Alexander II1165–14 Click to show or hide the answer
Supported the English barons in their struggle with King John; acknowledged Henry II of England as his liege lord by the Treaty of Newcastle, 12441214–49 Click to show or hide the answer
Son of Alexander II; gained influence over the Western Isles, from Norway, 1263 1249–86 Click to show or hide the answer
Grand–daughter of Alexander III, succeeded aged 31286–90 Click to show or hide the answer
13 people laid claim to the throne after Margaret, 'The Maid of Norway' died on her way to Scotland 1290–92 Click to show or hide the answer
Great–grandson of David of Huntingdon, younger brother of William the Lion – selected by Edward I of England1292–96 Click to show or hide the answer
Scots barons rebelled at Edward I's influence over John Balliol, who then abdicated; Edward declared himself King of Scotland, capturing the Stone of Scone1296–1306 Click to show or hide the answer
Crowned at Scone after the execution of William Wallace; defeated Edward I at Bannockburn (1314); said to have been inspired to try again by watching a spider building its web1306–29 Click to show or hide the answer
Son of Robert the Bruce; married Joanna, daughter of Edward II of England, at age 4; captured at the Battle of Neville's Cross1329–71 Click to show or hide the answer
First Stuart King of Scotland; son of Walter, Steward of Scotland, and Marjory, daughter of Robert I 1371–90 Click to show or hide the answer
Son of Robert II1390–1406 Click to show or hide the answer
Robert, Duke of Albany, was regent to 1424, when James was crowned; murdered by Sir Robert Graham, 1437 1406–37 Click to show or hide the answer
Assumed power 1449; killed while besieging Roxburgh Castle, 1460; banned golf and football, 1457, because they distracted his subjects from archery1437–60 Click to show or hide the answer
Assumed power 1469; murdered 14881460–88 Click to show or hide the answer
The last British king to be killed in battle: Flodden Field, 1513 – defeated by Henry VIII's English army 1488–1513 Click to show or hide the answer
Defeated by Henry VIII at Solway Moss, 15421513–42 Click to show or hide the answer
Became Queen of Scots aged 6 days; executed at Fotheringay Castle following the Babington plot; reputedly haunts Borthwick Castle1542–67 Click to show or hide the answer
Son of Mary and her second husband Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley (both great–grandchildren of Henry VII of England via his daughter Margaret, who married James IV of Scotland); assumed power 1583; became James I of England in 1603 1567–1625 Click to show or hide the answer
Target of the Gowrie Conspiracy (or Plot) – which resulted in the murders of John Ruthven, 3rd Earl of Gowrie, and his younger brother Alexander, ostensibly in defence of the King

© Haydn Thompson 2017