King David II (1324-1371)

David was Robert the Bruce's only surviving son, born in 1324 when Bruce was aged 50, and he was only five years old when his father died. At the age four, he was married to Joan, sister of Edward III of England (she was seven) as Robert the Bruce tried to establish better relations with England. Following the death of Robert the Bruce in 1329, David was crowned at Scone on 24 November 1331, holding a small sceptre specially made for him.

Edward Balliol (son of King John Balliol who had been overthrown by King Robert), supported by a number of nobles who had been disinherited by Robert the Bruce, soon started a rebellion. In August 1332 at the Battle of Dupplin Moor, near Perth, Balliol defeated the Regent, Earl of Mar. In September, Balliol was crowned at Scone and thereafter there was a see-saw battle for the throne. He was deposed by supporters of David II in December 1332, restored in 1333 (after the Scottish army led by Archibald, Lord of Douglas, attacked Balliol beseiging Berwick Castle and lost at the Battle of Halidon Hill. Balliol was deposed again in 1334, restored in 1335 and finally deposed in 1341.

The young King David was driven into exile in France in 1334 but returned from there in 1341, deposing Edward Balliol for the last time.

In response to an appeal for help from France, King David invaded England in 1346 but was captured at the Battle of Neville's Cross, remaining a prisoner at the English court until the Treaty of Berwick in 1357. He was returned to Scotland on payment of a large ransom.

David ruled with authority and included burgesses as well as nobles in the Parliament and trade increased during his rule. But he is frowned on for pushing the idea of a union of the Scottish and English crowns (in part to repay the ransom) but he also spent much of his time on self-indulgent fancies.

David married a second time, to Margaret Drummond, but he died in Edinburgh Castle in February 1371 without legitimate issue. He was no doubt disappointed that he was succeeded by his nephew, Robert II, son of Walter the 6th High Steward of Scotland and the founder of the Stewart dynasty. For many years he had regarded his nephew with considerable suspicion as Robert was a son of Marjorie Bruce, a daughter of King Robert I, and thus had a legitimate claim to the throne.