Kings and Queens of Scotland

The Dual Kingdom

Charles I

Charles I: (born. 1600, reigned 1625-49)

Scotland was not to see much more of her kings, except when they needed her help to survive. Charles I, born in Dunfermline, waited seven years before he came to Edinburgh to be crowned. His religious policy, with its bishops and its "Popish" liturgy, was widely disliked in Scotland and in 1638 the National Covenant was set up. It offered Charles its loyalty but also demanded a free parliament and general assembly of the Church: intolerable to the imperious Charles, who shared his father's belief in the divine right of kings. He sent an army to command obedience; it was beaten and the Scots occupied Newcastle. Charles had to make concessions. He came a second time to Edinburgh in 1641, in the hope of keeping Scotland loyal as civil war loomed in England. But the Covenanters, firmly in charge, sided with the London Parliament. In 1647 the defeated Charles gave himself up to the Scottish army at Newark in England; they kept him for seven months, then handed him over to the army of the English Parliament. He was beheaded in London in January 1649, conducting himself with impressive dignity to the last.

Charles II

Charles II: (born. 1630, reigned 1649-51, 1660-85)

His son was promptly proclaimed king in Edinburgh, where they had not forgotten where the Stuarts came from. Charles II landed in Scotland in 1650 and clung on until 1651, when he was crowned at Scone. On invading England later that year, he was routed by Cromwell at Worcester and fled to France.
For nine years Cromwell ruled Scotland much as Edward I had done. His laws and the efficiency of his governor, General Monck, did more to subdue the turbulent barons of Scotland than any of her kings. Monck died in 1660, and Charles II was soon called back to England. Charles had seen enough of Scotland to satisfy him already; though he had once promised to uphold the Covenant, he said that Presbyterianism "was no religion for a gentleman". The Duke of Lauderdale implemented his policies for most of the reign. Religious warfare in the south west, which was a bhold of extreme Covenanters, disfigured the time. In his humour, affability and intellectual curiosity Charles II took after his grandfather James VI, though Scotland had no chance to appreciate his personal qualities after 1651. In his brother, as in his father, the less attractive and less successful aspects of the Stuarts were displayed - imperiousness, inflexibility and fatalistic gloom.

James VII and II

James VII and II: (born 1633, reigned 1685-88, died 1701)

On Charles' death with numerous children but none legitimate, his brother became king at the age of 52. As Duke of York he had already been his brother's manager of Scottish affairs for several years, placing his own men in power. James was an ardent Roman Catholic, ruling over two nations who had fought bloody wars in the Protestant cause. Trouble was inevitable. His short reign was marked in Scotland by the Earl of Argyll's failed rebellion in the west, and by intensified warfare in the south west, the long remembered "killing time". In 1688, William of Orange landed at Torbay, and James fled, was captured, escaped, and joined his Queen and baby son in France. For the rest of his life he would be "the King over the Water".

William II   Mary II

William: (born 1650, reigned 1688-1702)
& Mary: (born 1662, reigned 1688-94)

Scotland had played no part in James's deposition or in the invitation to William of Orange. But he and his joint sovereign, Mary, James VII's daughter, were duly proclaimed in Edinburgh. Theirs had been a dynastic marriage; Mary had wept for a day on hearing what had been arranged for her. Despite the Stuart blood of both (William was a grandson of Charles I), they were widely regarded as usurpers, especially in the Catholic Highlands. John Graham of Claverhouse, or "Bonnie Dundee", the scourge of the Covenanters, fought for the exiled king, winning but dying in, the Battle of Killiecrankie. With him gone, the Stuart cause had no leader. As before, Scotland was ruled through a Privy Council. It was not a wholly civilised government, financially corrupt and with the Massacre of Glencoe (1690), to answer for. Despite the long demanded removal of bishops from the Church, it was not a popular reign. When Scotland's commercial interests conflicted with England's, William ignored her, and Scotland gained little from what in England was the "Glorious Revolution".


Anne: (born 1665, reigned 1702-14)

William and Mary had no children, and Mary's sister Anne inherited the throne, the second Stuart Queen to rule in her own right. By then the monarch's powers, though always greater in Scotland than in England, were more limited; and in any case Anne was much more prudent and circumspect than her ancestress Mary. She visited Scotland only once, as a teenage girl, never as Queen. Seventeen pregnancies occupied much of her life, but none of her children survived her. In what she hailed as the most glorious achievement of her reign, the Scottish and English Parliaments were united as the Parliament of Great britain (1707). There was much concern about her successor. James VII and II had died in exile in 1702, and he had a son, whom his supporters saw as the rightful James VIII and III. But the exiled Stuarts remained staunchly Catholic, and anti Catholic feeling in England was so b as to make a recall impossible.

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