“And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding.” —Daniel 2:21
The Birth of Robert the Bruce, July 11, 1274
obert Bruce of Scotland was born in 1274, probably at Turnberry Castle, “of which the remains can still be seen perched on the cliffs which plunge steeply into the waters of the firth of Clyde.” His family claimed Anglo-Norman ancestry and served as tenets-in-chief of King David I (c. 1084-1153), who assumed the throne of Scotland from his brother in 1124. The father of Robert the Bruce was the 6th Robert of that name and a warrior who — along with his sixty-year-old father — fought in the Crusades. Robert the Crusader married the widowed Countess of Carrick, who bore him ten children, of whom Robert the Bruce, the 7th of that line, was the oldest son. Genealogies can become tedious very quickly, but when a claimant to the throne must prove his pedigree and be prepared to defend his right to the death, knowing one’s ancestors is of paramount importance. Genealogy is a handmaid of Providence.
Ruins of Turnberry Castle, likely birthplace of Robert the Bruce
The accession to the throne of Scotland in 1289 depended on Margaret the “maid of Norway,” Alexander III’s seven-year-old granddaughter. King Alexander (1241-1286) had pitched from his horse and broken his neck in the dead of night, travelling home along the shore of Fife after a meeting with his counselors in Edinburgh. The Guardians of Scotland sent for Margaret, but she died of “seasickness” on the way to Scotland. The ambitious and acquisitive King of England, Edward I (1239-1307), who had arranged to marry his own son Edward to Alexander’s granddaughter, stepped in to select the next King of Scotland. Robert de Brus “the Competitor” and thirteen other claimants vied for position but, in 1292, Edward picked John Balliol as next in line to the Scottish throne (for more information on this, see the article Competitors for the Crown of Scotland ).