Albany, Robert Stewart, 1st Duke


Robert Stewart, the first Duke of Albany, was the third son of King Robert II of Scotland. In 1398 he was created the 1st Duke of Albany (Albany being the ancient name for northern Scotland). His elder brother took the throne as Robert III, but was in such poor health that Albany became virtual ruler, after a bitter struggle for power with his nephew, the Duke of Rothesay. In fact, when Rothesay died in mysterious circumstances at Falkland in 1402 some contemporary sources claimed that Albany had murdered him.

When Robert III died in 1406 his son, James I, was in prison in England, as was Albany's own son, Murdoch. Albany made little or no meaningful effort to free James and ruled as governor until his death in 1420.

Albany ruled Scotland in his own name, rather than in the name of James I, but contemporary chroniclers laud his wise government. Albany was able to get the powerful Earl of Douglas released from captivity in England, and convincing the Earl of March to return from exile. Albany led attacks on Jedburgh in 1409 and Fast Castle the following year. His son, Murdoch, gained his freedom in 1415 when he was exchanged for the Earl of Northumberland. Finally, when Albany died in 1420, Murdoch Stewart took over as regent, and ruled until James I was freed in 1424.

Time period(s): Medieval

Tags: Albany   Duke of Albany   Robert II   Robert III   James I  

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