Category: Scottish Monarchs

Scottish Monarchs have a long and storied history that spans from the early medieval period to the early modern period. The title “King of Scots” primarily referred to the leader of the Kingdom of Scotland, before the kingdom merged with the Kingdom of England to form the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707.

Here’s an overview of some notable Scottish monarchs, their reigns and accomplishments:

Kenneth I (MacAlpin) (843–858)

Often considered the first King of Scots, Kenneth united the Picts and Scots to form the Kingdom of Scotland.

David I (1124–1153)

King David I of Scotland is credited with introducing Norman methods of governance and reorganized the Scottish church.

Alexander III (1249–1286)

His reign was marked by relative peace and economic prosperity. However, his death led to the succession crisis known as the “Great Cause.”

John Balliol (1292–1296)

King John Balliol was chosen as king after the “Great Cause,” but was quickly embroiled in wars against England and was eventually deposed.

Robert the Bruce (1306–1329)

This Scottish monarch became king after murdering his rival, John Comyn. He is most famous for leading Scotland during the Wars of Scottish Independence against England. He secured Scottish independence with his victory at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

David II (1329–1371)

David II was Robert’s son and the first Scottish king to be imprisoned by the English. He was later ransomed back to Scotland.

James I (1406–1437)

King James I of Scotland was captured by the English and spent 18 years in captivity before returning to Scotland. He tried to strengthen the monarchy, which led to his assassination.

James IV (1488–1513)

Known for his Renaissance interests and patronage, but he died in the Battle of Flodden against the English.

James V (1513–1542)

Best known for being one of Scotland’s most famous monarchs, James V spent his reign strengthening royal power and patronizing a great deal of arts, but his reign was marked by a disastrous conflict with England.

Mary, Queen of Scots (1542–1567)

Mary is one of the most famous Scottish monarchs. Her reign was marked by religious conflict, political intrigue, and her tumultuous personal life. She was imprisoned and later executed in England by her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I.

James VI (and I of England) (1566–1625)

Mary’s son, James VI became the King of Scotland and later the King of England and Ireland. His reign marked the Union of the Crowns when the Scottish and English crowns were unified, though the two nations remained distinct entities until 1707.

The Treaty of Union

The monarchy of Scotland ended in 1707 with the Treaty of Union which merged the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. It is generally held that the last monarch of Scotland was Queen Anne (1702–1707 in Scotland), who became the first monarch of the unified Great Britain.