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Armorial of the Stuart monarch for use in England, 1603 onwards
|Country||Kingdom of Scotland, Kingdom of England, Kingdom of Ireland, Kingdom of France, Kingdom of Great Britain|
|Ancestral house||Clan Stewart|
|Titles||High Steward of Scotland, Earl of Lennox, Duke of Aubigny, Earl of Moray, Marquess of Bute, King of Scots, King of England, King of Ireland, Queen of Great Britain|
|Founder||Robert II of Scotland|
|Final sovereign||Anne of Great Britain|
|Current head||Extinct[note 1]|
Stewart of Galloway
The House of Stewart, or Stuart, is a European royal house. Founded by Robert II of Scotland, the Stewarts first became monarchs of the Kingdom of Scotland during the late 14th century, and subsequently held the position of the Kings of Great Britain and Ireland. Their patrilineal ancestors (from Brittany) had held the office of High Steward of Scotland since the 12th century, after arriving by way of Norman England. The dynasty inherited further territory by the 17th century which covered the entire British Isles, including the Kingdom of England and Kingdom of Ireland, also upholding a claim to the Kingdom of France.
In total, nine Stewart monarchs ruled just Scotland from 1371 until 1603. After this there was a Union of the Crowns under James VI & I who had become the senior genealogical claimant to The Crown holdings of the extinct House of Tudor. Thus there were six Stewart monarchs who ruled both England and Scotland as well as Ireland (although the later Stuart era was interrupted by an interregnum lasting from 1649–1660, as a result of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms). Additionally, at the foundation of the Kingdom of Great Britain after the Acts of Union, which politically united England and Scotland, the first monarch was Anne of Great Britain. After her death, all the holdings passed to the House of Hanover, under the terms of the Act of Settlement 1701.
During the reign of the Stewarts, Scotland developed from a relatively poor and feudal country into a prosperous, fairly modern and centralised state. They ruled during a time in European history of transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Monarchs such as James IV were known for sponsoring exponents of the Northern Renaissance such as poet Robert Henryson. After the Stewarts gained control of all of Great Britain, the arts and sciences continued to develop; many of William Shakespeare's best known plays were authored during the Jacobean era, while institutions such as the Royal Society and Royal Mail were established during the reign of Charles II.
The name Stewart derives from the political position of office similar to a governor, known as a steward. It was originally adopted as the family surname by Walter Stewart, 3rd High Steward of Scotland, who was the third member of the family to hold the position. Prior to this, family names were not used, but instead they had patronyms defined through the father; for example the first two High Stewards were known as FitzAlan and FitzWalter respectively. During the 16th century the French spelling Stuart was adopted by Mary, Queen of Scots when she was living in France. She sanctioned the change to ensure the correct pronunciation of the Scots version of the name Stewart, because retaining the letter 'w' would have made it difficult for French speakers. The spelling Stuart was also used by her second husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley; he was the father of James VI and I, so the spelling Stuart for the British royal family officially derives from him.
The ancestral origins of the Stewart family are quite obscure—what is known for certain is that they can trace their ancestry back to Alan FitzFlaad, a Breton who came over to Great Britain not long after the Norman conquest. Alan had been the hereditary steward of the Bishop of Dol in the Duchy of Brittany; Alan had a good relationship with the ruling Norman monarch Henry I of England who awarded him with lands in Shropshire. The FitzAlan family quickly established themselves as a prominent Anglo-Norman noble house, with some of its members serving as High Sheriff of Shropshire. It was the great-grandson of Alan named Walter FitzAlan who became the first hereditary High Steward of Scotland, while his brother William's family would go on to become Earls of Arundel.
When the civil war in the Kingdom of England broke out known as The Anarchy, between legitimist claimant Matilda, Lady of the English and her cousin who had usurped her; King Stephen, Walter had sided with Matilda. Another supporter of Matilda was her uncle David I of Scotland from the House of Dunkeld. After Matilda was pushed out of England into the County of Anjou, essentially failing in her legitimist attempt for the throne, many of her supporters in England fled also. It was then that Walter followed David up to the Kingdom of Scotland, where he was granted lands in Renfrewshire and the title for life of Lord High Steward. The next monarch of Scotland, Malcolm IV made the High Steward title a hereditary arrangement. While High Stewards, the family were based at Dundonald, Ayrshire between the 12th and 13th centuries.
The sixth High Steward of Scotland, Walter Stewart (1293–1326), married Marjorie, daughter of Robert the Bruce, and also played an important part in the Battle of Bannockburn gaining further favour. Their son Robert was heir to the House of Bruce, the Lordship of Cunningham and the Bruce lands of Bourtreehill; he eventually inherited the Scottish throne when his uncle David II died childless in 1371.
In 1503, James IV attempted to secure peace with England by marrying King Henry VII's daughter, Margaret Tudor. The birth of their son, later James V, brought the House of Stewart into the line of descent of the House of Tudor, and the English throne. Margaret Tudor later married Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus, and their daughter, Margaret Douglas, was the mother of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. In 1565, Darnley married his half-cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, the daughter of James V. Darnley's father was Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox, a member of the Stewart of Darnley branch of the House. Lennox was a descendant of Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland, also descended from James II, being Mary's heir presumptive. Thus Darnley was also related to Mary on his father's side and because of this connection, Mary's heirs remained part of the House of Stewart. Following John Stewart of Darnley's ennoblement for his part at the Battle of Baugé in 1421, and the grant of lands to him at Aubigny and Concressault, the Darnley Stewarts' surname was gallicised to Stuart.
Both Mary, Queen of Scots, and Lord Darnley had strong claims on the English throne, through their mutual grandmother, Margaret Tudor. This eventually led to the accession of the couple's only child James as King of Scotland, England, and Ireland in 1603. However, this was a Personal Union, as the three Kingdoms shared a monarch, but had separate governments, churches, and institutions. Indeed the personal union did not prevent an armed conflict, known as the Bishops’ Wars, breaking out between England and Scotland in 1639. This was to become part of the cycle of political and military conflict that marked the reign of Charles I of England, Scotland & Ireland, culminating in a series of conflicts known as the War of the Three Kingdoms. The trial and execution of Charles I by the English Parliament in 1649 began 11 years of republican government known as the English Interregnum. Scotland initially recognised the late King's son, also called Charles, as their monarch, before being subjugated and forced to enter Cromwell's Commonwealth by General Monck's occupying army. During this period, the principal members of the House of Stuart lived in exile in mainland Europe. The younger Charles returned to Britain to assume his three thrones in 1660 as "Charles II of England, Scotland & Ireland", but would date his reign from his father's death eleven years before.
In feudal and dynastic terms, the Scottish reliance on French support was revived during the reign of Charles II, whose own mother was French. His sister Henrietta married into the French Royal family. Charles II left no legitimate children, but his numerous illegitimate descendants included the Dukes of Buccleuch, the Dukes of Grafton, the Dukes of Saint Albans and the Dukes of Richmond.
These French and Roman Catholic connections proved unpopular and resulted in the downfall of the Stuarts, whose mutual enemies identified with Protestantism and because James VII & II offended the Anglican establishment by proposing tolerance not only for Catholics but for Protestant Dissenters. The Glorious Revolution caused the overthrow of King James in favour of his son-in-law and his daughter, William and Mary. James continued to claim the thrones of England and Scotland to which he had been crowned, and encouraged revolts in his name, and his grandson Charles (also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie) led an ultimately unsuccessful rising in 1745, ironically becoming symbols of conservative rebellion and Romanticism. Some blame the identification of the Roman Catholic Church with the Stuarts for the extremely lengthy delay in the passage of Catholic Emancipation until Jacobitism (as represented by direct Stuart heirs) was extinguished; however it was as likely to be caused by entrenched anti-Catholic prejudice among the Anglican establishment of England. Despite the Whig intentions of tolerance to be extended to Irish subjects, this was not the preference of Georgian Tories and their failure at compromise played a subsequent role in the present division of Ireland.
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The Wars of the Three Kingdoms took place in the reign of Charles I, the second 'British' Stuart monarch. This ended in victory for the Parliamentarians under Oliver Cromwell, when Charles I was executed in 1649.
After this conflict the line of Stuart monarchs was temporarily displaced by the Commonwealth of England (1649–1660). This was ruled directly by Oliver Cromwell (1653–1659). After Cromwell's death the Commonwealth fell apart and the Convention Parliament welcomed Charles II's return from exile to become king. This is known as the Restoration.
Also, once he becomes king, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge will be the first British Monarch to have descended from Charles I for 300 years since Queen Anne, as his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales descended 5 times from the Stuart kings from the lines of both Charles II and James II.
|Portrait||Name||From||Until||Relationship with predecessor|
|Robert II of Scotland||22 February 1371||19 April 1390||nephew of David II of Scotland who died without issue. Robert's mother Marjorie Bruce was daughter of Robert I of Scotland.|
|Robert III of Scotland||19 April 1390||4 April 1406||son of Robert II of Scotland.|
|James I of Scotland||4 April 1406||21 February 1437||son of Robert III of Scotland.|
|James II of Scotland||21 February 1437||3 August 1460||son of James I of Scotland.|
|James III of Scotland||3 August 1460||11 June 1488||son of James II of Scotland.|
|James IV of Scotland||11 June 1488||9 September 1513||son of James III of Scotland.|
|James V of Scotland||9 September 1513||14 December 1542||son of James IV of Scotland.|
|Mary I of Scotland||14 December 1542||24 July 1567||daughter of James V of Scotland.|
These monarchs used the title "King/Queen of Great Britain", although that title had no basis in law until the Acts of Union 1707 came into effect on 1 May 1707.
|Portrait||Name||From||Until||Relationship with predecessor|
|James VI of Scotland
James I of England
|24 July 1567
24 March 1603
|27 March 1625||son of Mary, Queen of Scots and Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. King of Scotland alone, 1567—1603, until inheriting the titles King of England and Ireland, including claim to France from the extinct Tudors.|
|Charles I of England, Scotland & Ireland||27 March 1625||30 January 1649 (executed)||son of James VI of Scotland & I of England & Ireland.|
|Charles II of England, Scotland & Ireland||30 January 1649||6 February 1685||son of Charles I of England, Scotland & Ireland. In exile from 1649 to 1660, during a republican period of government known as the Commonwealth of England.|
|James VII of Scotland
James II of England and Ireland
|6 February 1685||13 February 1689||brother of Charles II of England, Scotland & Ireland, who died with no legitimate issue. Son of Charles I. Overthrown at the Revolution of 1688.|
|Mary II of England, Scotland and Ireland||13 February 1689||28 December 1694||daughter of James II of England and Ireland & VII of Scotland, who was still alive and pretending to the throne. Co-monarch was William III & II who outlived his wife.|
|Anne of Great Britain and Ireland||8 March 1702||1 May 1707||sister of Mary II. daughter of James II of England and Ireland & VII of Scotland. Name of state changed to Great Britain with the political Acts of Union 1707, though family has used title since James I & VI. Died issueless, rights pass to House of Hanover.|
Patrilineal descent, descent from father to son, is the principle behind membership in royal houses, as it can be traced back through the generations – which means that the historically accurate royal house of the Stuart monarchs was the House of Stuart.
House of Stuart
House of Bruce
|Ruling house of the Kingdom of Scotland
House of Tudor
|Ruling house of the Kingdom of England
|Vacant||Ruling house of the Kingdom of Scotland
|Titles merged by the
Acts of Union 1707
|Vacant||Ruling house of the Kingdom of England
England and Scotland united
|Ruling house of the Kingdom of Great Britain
House of Hanover
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