House of Stuart

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Royal house
Coat of Arms of Great Britain (1707-1714).svg
Coat of arms of the last Stuart monarch Anne, Queen of Great Britain, 1707–1714
Parent family Clan Stewart
CountryScotland, England, Ireland, Great Britain
Founder Walter Fitzalan (c.1110–1177)
Final ruler Anne, Queen of Great Britain (1665–1714)
Dissolution1807 (1807)
Cadet branches

The House of Stuart, originally Stewart, was a European royal house of Scotland with Breton origin. [1] They had held the office of High Steward of Scotland since Walter fitz Alan (c. 1150). The royal Stewart line was founded by Robert II whose descendants were kings and queens of Scotland from 1371 until the union with England in 1707. Mary, Queen of Scots was brought up in France where she adopted the French spelling of the name Stuart.


In 1503, James IV married Margaret Tudor, thus linking the royal houses of Scotland and England. Elizabeth I of England died without issue in 1603, and James IV's great grandson James VI of Scotland succeeded to the thrones of England and Ireland as James I in the Union of the Crowns. The Stuarts were monarchs of Britain and Ireland and its growing empire until the death of Queen Anne in 1714, except for the period of the Commonwealth between 1649 and 1660. [note 2]

In total, nine Stewart/Stuart monarchs ruled Scotland alone from 1371 until 1603, the last of which was James VI, before his accession in England. Two Stuart queens ruled the isles following the Glorious Revolution in 1688: Mary II and Anne. Both were the Protestant daughters of James VII and II by his first wife Anne Hyde and the great-grandchildren of James VI and I. Their father had converted to Catholicism and his new wife gave birth to a son in 1688, who was brought up a Roman Catholic and preceded his half-sisters; so James was deposed by Parliament in 1689, in favour of his daughters. But neither had any children who survived to adulthood, so the crown passed to the House of Hanover on the death of Queen Anne in 1714 under the terms of the Act of Settlement 1701 and the Act of Security 1704.



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 Fitz Alan and FitzWalter respectively. The gallicised spelling was first borne by John Stewart of Darnley after his time in the French wars. 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, who followed the Germans in usually rendering "w" as /v/. 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 official spelling Stuart for the British royal family derives from him.

House of Stuart.png
Principal members of the house of Stuart following the 1603 Union of the Crowns.


The ancestral origins of the Stuart family are obscure—their probable ancestry is traced back to Alan FitzFlaad, a Breton who came over to Great Britain not long after the Norman conquest. [2] Alan had been the hereditary steward of the Bishop of Dol in the Duchy of Brittany; [3] Alan had a good relationship with Henry I of England who awarded him with lands in Shropshire. [3] The FitzAlan family quickly established themselves as a prominent Anglo-Norman noble house, with some of its members serving as High Sheriff of Shropshire. [3] [4] 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 went on to become Earls of Arundel.

When the civil war in the Kingdom of England, known as The Anarchy, broke out between legitimist claimant Matilda, Lady of the English and her cousin who had usurped her, King Stephen, Walter had sided with Matilda. [5] Another supporter of Matilda was her uncle David I of Scotland from the House of Dunkeld. [5] 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. [5] The next monarch of Scotland, Malcolm IV, made the High Steward title a hereditary arrangement. While High Stewards, the family were based at Dundonald, South Ayrshire between the 12th and 13th centuries.


undiffered arms of stewart Arms of Stewart.svg
undiffered arms of stewart
Stewart of Stewart
Arms of Stewart of Albany Blason Robert Stuart d'Albany.svg
Arms of Stewart of Albany
Stewart of Albany
Arms of Stewart of Barclye Stewart of Barclye arms.svg
Arms of Stewart of Barclye
Stewart of Barclye
Arms of Stewart of Garlies Stewart of Garlies arms.svg
Arms of Stewart of Garlies
Stewart of Garlies
Arms of Stewart of Minto Stewart of Blantyre arms.svg
Arms of Stewart of Minto
Stewart of Minto
Arms of Stewart of Atholl Arms of Stewart, Earl of Atholl (1596 creation).svg
Arms of Stewart of Atholl
Stewart of Atholl
Arms of Stewart of Bute Arms of Stuart, Marquess of Bute.svg
Arms of Stewart of Bute
Stewart of Bute
Arms of Stuart of Bute Arms of Stuart of Bute.svg
Arms of Stuart of Bute
Stuart of Bute
Arms of Stewart of Ardvorlich Blason Stewart of Ardvorlich.svg
Arms of Stewart of Ardvorlich
Stewart of Ardvorlich
Arms of Stewart of Physgill Blason Stewart of Physgill (Ecosse).svg
Arms of Stewart of Physgill
Stewart of Physgill
Arms of Stewart of Rothesay Stuart de Rothesay arms.svg
Arms of Stewart of Rothesay
Stewart of Rothesay

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 Stuart. 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 and 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 and Ireland", but dated 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.

Monument to the Royal Stuarts in St. Peter's Basilica - Work of Antonio Canova. 0 Monument funeraire des derniers Stuarts - Basilique St-Pierre - Vatican (1).JPG
Monument to the Royal Stuarts in St. Peter's Basilica – Work of Antonio Canova.

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 and 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.[ citation needed ]


The Royal House of Stuart became extinct with the death of Cardinal Henry Benedict Stuart, brother of Charles Edward Stuart, in 1807. Duke Francis of Bavaria is the current senior heir. [6] However, Charles II had a number of illegitimate sons whose surviving descendants in the male line include Charles Gordon-Lennox, 11th Duke of Richmond; Henry FitzRoy, 12th Duke of Grafton; Murray Beauclerk, 14th Duke of St Albans; and Richard Scott, 10th Duke of Buccleuch. In addition, James II's illegitimate son, James FitzJames, 1st Duke of Berwick, founded the House of FitzJames comprising two branches, one in France and one in Spain. The last of the French branch died in 1967; the senior heir of James II's male line descendants is Jacobo Hernando Fitz-James Stuart, 16th Duke of Peñaranda de Duero.

List of monarchs

Monarchs of Scotland

PortraitNameFromUntilRelationship with predecessor
Robert II Stewart.jpg Robert II 22 February 137119 April 1390nephew [7] of David II who died without issue. Robert's mother Marjorie Bruce was daughter of Robert I.
Robert III Stewart.jpg Robert III 19 April 13904 April 1406son of Robert II of Scotland.
King James I of Scotland.jpg James I 4 April 140621 February 1437son of Robert III of Scotland.
James II, King of Scotland.png James II 21 February 14373 August 1460son of James I of Scotland.
James III, King of Scotland.png James III 3 August 146011 June 1488son of James II of Scotland.
James IV of Scotland.jpg James IV 11 June 14889 September 1513son of James III of Scotland.
James V of Scotland2.jpg James V 9 September 151314 December 1542son of James IV of Scotland.
Mary Queen of Scots portrait.jpg Mary 14 December 154224 July 1567daughter of James V of Scotland.
James VI of Scots.jpg James VI 24 July 1567
27 March 1625son of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Monarchs of England, Scotland and Ireland

From the Acts of Union 1707, which came into effect on 1 May 1707, the last Stuart monarch, Anne, became Queen of Great Britain and Ireland.

PortraitNameFromUntilRelationship with predecessor
Paul van Somer - James I of England (James VI of Scotland) - Google Art Project.jpg James VI and I
24 March 160327 March 1625Great-Great grandson of Henry VII of England. King of Scotland alone until inheriting the titles King of England and Ireland, including claim to France from the extinct Tudors.
Anthony van Dyck - Equestrian Portrait of Charles I, King of England (Copy) - WGA07384.jpg Charles I 27 March 162530 January 1649 (executed)son of James VI and I
Charles II of England by Kneller.jpg Charles II 30 January 1649 (de jure); 2 May 1660 (de facto)6 February 1685son of Charles I. Prohibited by Parliament from assuming the throne during a republican period of government known as the Commonwealth of England, but then accepted as king in 1661.
Sir Peter Lely - James VII and II, when Duke of York, 1633 - 1701 - Google Art Project.jpg James VII and II 6 February 168511 December 1688brother of Charles II, who died without legitimate issue. Son of Charles I. Overthrown at the Revolution of 1688. Died in 1701.
Queen Mary II.jpg Mary II 13 February 168928 December 1694daughter of James II & VII, who was still alive and pretending to the throne. Co-monarch was William III & II who outlived his wife.
Wissing, Willem - Queen Anne, 1687.jpg Anne 8 March 17021 August 1714sister of Mary II. daughter of James II & VII. Name of state changed to Great Britain with the political Acts of Union 1707, though family has used title since James I & VI. Died childless, rights pass to House of Hanover.
Anne, Queen of Great BritainMary II of EnglandJames II of EnglandCharles II of EnglandCharles I of EnglandJames VI and IMary, Queen of ScotsJames V of ScotlandJames IV of ScotlandJames III of ScotlandJames II of ScotlandJames I of ScotlandRobert III of ScotlandRobert II of ScotlandHouse of Stuart
Armorial tablet of the Stewarts at Falkland Palace, Fife Armorial tablet of the Stewarts, Falkland Palace, Fife Scotland.jpg
Armorial tablet of the Stewarts at Falkland Palace, Fife

Family tree

Round provided a family tree [8] to embody his essential findings, which is adapted below.

Dapifer Dolensis
(Seneschal or Steward of Dol)
Dapifer Dolensis,
Took part in First Crusade, 1097.
Occurs at Monmouth, 1101/2
Monk of St Florent.
Alan Fitz Flaad,
Founder of Sporle Priory
Jordan Fitz Alan,
Dapifer in Britanny,
Benefactor of Sele Priory.
William Fitz Alan ,
Lord of Oswestry
Founder/benefactor of Haughmond Abbey,
Died 1160
Walter Fitz Alan
Dapifer Regis Scotiae,
Founder of Paisley Abbey,
Died 1177
Alan Fitz Jordan,
Dapifer Dolensis.
William Fitz Alan II ,
Lord of Oswestry and Clun
Alan the Steward
Senescallus Regis Scotiae


House of Stewart

House of Stuart

Descended from the Stewarts of Darnley (Stewarts of Lennox)

See also


  1. titular claim rather than de facto
  2. The Earls of Galloway are the senior surviving line of the Stuarts. They are descended from a line which originated from the second son of Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland and are not members of the Stewart/Stuart royal line; however, they are part of the peerage.

Related Research Articles

Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley King consort of Scotland

Henry Stuart, Duke of Albany, styled as Lord Darnley until 1565, was king consort of Scotland from 1565 until his murder at Kirk o' Field in 1567. Many contemporary narratives describing his life and death refer to him as Lord Darnley, his title as heir apparent to the Earldom of Lennox, and it is by this appellation that he is now generally known.

Lord Darnley is a noble title associated with a Scottish Lordship of Parliament, first created in 1356 for the family of Stewart of Darnley and tracing a descent to the Dukedom of Richmond in England. The title's name refers to Darnley in Scotland. Outside the Peerage of Scotland, another Earldom of Darnley was created in the Peerage of Ireland in 1729.

Duke of Rothesay Dynastic title of heir apparent to British throne

Duke of Rothesay is a dynastic title of the heir apparent to the British throne, currently Prince Charles. It was a title of the heir apparent to the throne of the Kingdom of Scotland before 1707, of the Kingdom of Great Britain from 1707 to 1801, and now of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is the title mandated for use by the heir apparent when in Scotland, in preference to the titles Duke of Cornwall and Prince of Wales, which are used in the rest of the United Kingdom and overseas. The Duke of Rothesay also holds other Scottish titles, including those of Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. The title is named after Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, Argyll and Bute, but is not associated with any legal entity or landed property, unlike the Duchy of Cornwall.

Duke of Buccleuch Scottish title of nobility

The title Duke of Buccleuch, formerly also spelt Duke of Buccleugh, is a title in the Peerage of Scotland created twice on 20 April 1663, first for James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth and second suo jure for his wife Anne Scott, 4th Countess of Buccleuch. Monmouth, the eldest illegitimate son of Charles II was attainted after his 1685 rebellion, but his wife's title was unaffected and passed on to their descendants, who have successively borne the surnames Scott, Montagu-Scott, Montagu Douglas Scott and Scott again. In 1810, the 3rd Duke of Buccleuch inherited the Dukedom of Queensberry, also in the Peerage of Scotland, thus separating that title from the Marquessate of Queensberry.

Duke of Richmond peer of the realm of England

Duke of Richmond is a title in the Peerage of England that has been created four times in British history. It has been held by members of the royal Tudor and Stuart families.

Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox Scots earl closely allied with the royal family

Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox, was the fourth Earl of Lennox, and a leader of the Catholic nobility in Scotland. He was the son of John Stewart, 3rd Earl of Lennox and Lady Elizabeth Stewart, daughter of John Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl. His grandson was King James VI of Scotland and I of England.

Earl of Lennox

The Earl or Mormaer of Lennox was the ruler of the district of the Lennox in western Scotland.

Prince of Scotland

Prince and Great Steward of Scotland are two of the titles of the heir apparent to the throne of the United Kingdom. The current holder of these titles is Prince Charles, who bears the other Scottish titles of Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Lord of the Isles and Baron of Renfrew, and is known outside Scotland as the Prince of Wales.

Lord High Steward of Scotland

The title of High Steward or Great Steward is that of an officer who controls the domestic affairs of the royal household. David I of Scotland gave the title in the 12th century to Walter fitz Alan, a French baron of Breton origin whose descendants adopted Steward as a surname to become the House of Stewart/Stuart. In 1371, the last High Steward inherited the throne, and thereafter the title of High Steward of Scotland has been held as a subsidiary title to that of Duke of Rothesay and Baron of Renfrew, held by the heir-apparent to the crown. Thus, currently, The Prince of Wales is High Steward of Scotland, sometimes known as the Prince and Great Steward of Scotland.

Walter Steward of Dundonald was 3rd hereditary High Steward of Scotland and Justiciar of Scotia.

Stewart of Darnley was a notable Scots family, a branch of the Clan Stewart, who provided the English Stuart monarchs with their male-line Stuart descent, after the reunion of their branch with the royal Scottish branch, which led to the ultimate union of the two main kingdoms of Great Britain: England and Scotland.

Clan Hamilton Lowland Scottish clan

The Clan Hamilton, or House of Hamilton, is a Lowland Scottish clan.

Clan Lennox

Clan Lennox is a Lowland Scottish clan. The clan chiefs were the original Earls of Lennox, although this title went via an heiress to other noble families in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The chiefship of the clan then went to the Lennox of Woodehead branch.

Clan Stewart Scottish clan

Clan Stewart is a Highland Scottish clan. The clan is recognised by Court of the Lord Lyon; however, it does not have a Clan Chief recognised by the Lord Lyon King of Arms. Because the clan has no chief it can be considered an armigerous clan; however, the Earls of Galloway are now considered to be the principal branch of this clan, and the crest and motto of The Earls of Galloway's arms are used in the Clan Stewart crest badge. The Court of the Lord Lyon recognises two other 'Stewart' clans, Clan Stuart of Bute and Clan Stewart of Appin. Clan Stuart of Bute is the only 'Stewart' clan at present which has a recognised chief.

John Stewart, 1st Earl of Lennox Scottish nobleman

John Stewart, 1st Earl of Lennox was known as Lord Darnley and later as the Earl of Lennox.

FitzAlan Surname list

FitzAlan is an English surname ultimately of Breton origin. In the aftermath of the Norman conquest of England a number of Breton nobles and knights settled in Britain. The FitzAlan family shared a common patrilinear ancestry with the Scots, and later English, royal dynasty, the House of Stuart. They are therefore also related to the current British royal family. They were descendants of the Breton knight Alan fitz Flaad grandson of the Seneschal of the Bishop of Dol. The FitzAlans held the Earldom of Arundel during the period 1267 - 1580.

Robert Stewart, 1st Earl of Lennox then 1st Earl of March was a Scottish nobleman of the family of Stewart of Darnley.

John Stewart of Bonkyll Military commander during the First Scottish War of Independence

Sir John Stewart of Bonkyll was a son of Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland. He was a military commander during the First Scottish War of Independence. He was killed during the Battle of Falkirk, where he commanded the Scottish archers. Stewart is interred in the churchyard of the Falkirk Old Parish Church. He was an uncle to the James Douglas, Lord of Douglas, also known as the Black Douglas.

John Stewart of Darnley Scottish nobleman and soldier of the Hundred Years War

Sir John Stewart of Darnley, 1st Lord of Concressault and 1st Lord of Aubigny, Count of Évreux was a Scottish nobleman and prominent soldier during the Hundred Years War.

The House of Stuart is a noble family of Scottish origin that eventually became monarchs of Scotland, England, Ireland, and Great Britain.


  2. "J.H. Round: The Origin of the Stewarts: Part 1". Retrieved on 13 November 2008.
  3. 1 2 3 Bartlett, England Under the Norman and Angevin Kings, 1075–1225, 544.
  4. Lieber, Encyclopædia Americana, 30.
  5. 1 2 3 King, The Anarchy of King Stephen's Reign, 249.
  6. Alleyne, Richard; de Quetteville, Harry (7 April 2008). "Act repeal could make Franz Herzog von Bayern new King of England and Scotland". Daily Telegraph . Retrieved 22 June 2008.
  7. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  8. "Studies in peerage and family history".


Further reading

  • Addington, Arthur C. The Royal House of Stuart: The Descendants of King James VI of Scotland (James I of England). 3v. Charles Skilton, 1969–76.
  • Cassavetti, Eileen. The Lion & the Lilies: The Stuarts and France. Macdonald & Jane's, 1977.
House of Stuart
Preceded by
House of Bruce
Ruling house of the Kingdom of Scotland
Preceded by
House of Tudor
Ruling house of the Kingdom of England
Vacant Ruling house of the Kingdom of Scotland
Vacant 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
New title
England and Scotland united
Ruling house of the Kingdom of Great Britain
Succeeded by
House of Hanover