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Reference list

Monarchs of Scotland (842–1707)

The first subject described by the Oxford DNB as king in Scotland was Kenneth I. He became king of Dalriada in western Scotland, usually identified with Argyll, in 840, in succession to his father Alpin (d. 840) [see under Dál Riata, kings of], and king of the Picts [see Picts, kings of the] in 842, thereby extending his rule over an undefined part of central Scotland north of the Forth and Clyde. Kenneth's successors extended the kingdom to include, by the reign of Malcolm II, most of modern Scotland. Malcolm is the first of the line to be described by the Oxford DNB as king of Scots.

The throne of Scotland was vacant between the death of Alexander III in 1286 and the appointment of John as king by Edward I of England in 1292; Edward deposed John in 1296, and the throne was again vacant until assumed by Robert I in 1306. Traditionally regarded as a queen of Scots, Margaret, the Maid of Norway, is included here, though she was not recognized as queen in Scotland during her lifetime.

From the reign of David II Scottish monarchs appear to have begun their reigns on the day after their predecessor's death and, from James IV onwards, the day of their predecessor's death, with the exception of Mary I, who was styled princess until her coronation.

James VI became James I, king of England and Ireland, in 1603, and assumed the title king of Great Britain in 1604. As he and several of his successors following the union of the crowns began and ended their reigns on different dates in England and Scotland, separate lists have been maintained up until the Act of Union in 1707. Thereafter British monarchs combined rule of Scotland with England and Wales as part of Great Britain.

Subheadings group the rulers by dynasty. There is no agreed convention for dividing the monarchs of Scotland before the interregnum of 1286, but this list groups them as ‘Descendants of Alpin’ to 1040, the ‘House of Moray’ between 1040 and 1058, and ‘Descendants of Duncan I’ subsequently. The list is ordered chronologically by date of accession.

Descendants of Alpin

840×42Kenneth I [Cináed mac Alpin, Kenneth Macalpine] (d. 8 Feb 858?); king of Dalriada, 840–; king of the Picts, 842–
858Donald I [Domnall mac Alpin] (d. 862)
862Constantine I [Causantín mac Cinaeda] (d. 876)
876/7 [succession unclear]Áed [Áed mac Cinaeda] (d. 878)
876×8 [succession unclear]Giric mac Dúngal (d. c.890)
876×8 [succession unclear]Eochaid (d. c.889); possibly co-ruler with Giric
c.890Donald II [Domnall mac Causantín] (d. 900)
900Constantine II [Causantín mac Aeda] (d. 952); relinquished throne 940×45
940×45Malcolm I [Mael Coluim mac Domnaill] (d. 954)
954Indulf [Illulb mac Causantín] (b. 927?, d. 962)
962Dubh [Duff; Dub mac Mael Coluim] (d. 20 July 966)
966Culen [Cuilén mac Illuilb, Cuilén Hringr] (d. 971)
971Kenneth II [Cináed mac Maíl Choluim] (d. 995)
995Constantine III [Causantín mac Cuilén] (d. 997)
997Kenneth III [Cináed mac Duib] (d. 1005)
1005Malcolm II [Mael Coluim mac Cinaeda] (d. 25 Nov 1034)
30 Nov 1034Duncan I [Donnchad ua Maíl Choluim] (d. 14 Aug 1040); inaug. 30 Nov 1034

House of Moray

14 Aug 1040Macbeth [Mac Bethad mac Findlaích] (d. 15 Aug 1057)
15 Aug 1057Lulach [Lulach mac Gille Comgáin] (d. 17 March 1058); inaug. 8 Sept 1057

Descendants of Duncan I

17 March 1058Malcolm III [Mael Coluim Ceann Mór, Malcolm Canmore] (d. 13 Nov 1093); inaug. 25 April 1058?
Nov 1093 [first reign]Donald III [Domnall Bán, Donalbane] (b. in or before 1040, d. 1099?); deposed
May 1094Duncan II (b. before 1072, d. 1094)
Nov 1094 [second reign]Donald III [Domnall Bán, Donalbane] (b. in or before 1040, d. 1099?); deposed
Oct 1097Edgar (b. late 1070s?, d. 8/15 Jan 1107)
8/15 Jan 1107Alexander I (d. 27 April 1124)
27 April 1124David I (b. c.1085, d. 24 May 1153)
27 May 1153Malcolm IV (b. 23 April×24 May 1141, d. 9 Dec 1165); inaug. 27 May 1153
24 Dec 1165William I [known as William the Lion] (b. c.1142, d. 4 Dec 1214); inaug. 24 Dec 1165
5 Dec 1214Alexander II (b. 24 Aug 1198, d. 8 July 1249); inaug. 5 Dec 1214
13 July 1249Alexander III (b. 4 Sept 1241, d. 19 March 1286); inaug. 13 July 1249

Interregnum, 1286–1292

Nov 1286Margaret [called the Maid of Norway] (b. 1282/3, d. late Sept 1290); the queen-designate, called Lady of Scotland; never inaugurated

House of Balliol

17 Nov 1292John [John de Balliol] (b. c.1248×50, d. 1314/15); awarded kingdom by Edward I of England, 17 Nov 1292, inaug. 30 Nov 1292; abd. 10 July 1296

Interregnum, 1296–1306

House of Bruce

25 March 1306Robert I [Robert Bruce] (b. 11 July 1274, d. 7 June 1329); crowned 25 March 1306
8 June 1329David II (b. 5 March 1324, d. 22 Feb 1371); crowned 24 Nov 1331

House of Stewart

23 Feb 1371Robert II (b. 1316, d. 19 April 1390); crowned 27 March 1371
20 April 1390Robert III (b. c.1340, d. 4 April 1406); crowned 14 Aug 1390
5 April 1406James I (b. late July 1394, d. 20–21 Feb 1437); in English captivity, 1406–1424; not formally styled king in Scotland until 1411; crowned May 1424
21 Feb 1437James II (b. 16 Oct 1430, d. 3 Aug 1460); crowned 25 March 1437
4 Aug 1460James III (b. May 1452, d. 11 June 1488); crowned 10 Aug 1460
11 June 1488James IV (b. 17 March 1473, d. 9 Sept 1513); crowned 24 June 1488
9 Sept 1513James V (b. 10 April 1512, d. 14 Dec 1542); crowned 21 Sept 1513
14 Dec 1542Mary I [see Mary] (b. 8 Dec 1542, d. 8 Feb 1587); crowned 9 Sept 1543; abd. 24 July 1567
24 July 1567James VI [see James VI and I] (b. 19 June 1566, d. 27 March 1625); crowned 29 July 1567
27 March 1625Charles I (b. 19 Nov 1600, d. 30 Jan 1649); crowned 18 June 1633
30 Jan 1649 [first reign]Charles II (b. 29 May 1630, d. 6 Feb 1685); crowned 1 Jan 1651; reign in Scotland ended 7 Feb 1652


Scotland was incorporated into the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland de facto in 1651–2, and by the Ordinance for Union of 12 April 1654. Independence was restored in 1659–60. Charles II was restored to the English throne on 8 May 1660 and to the Scottish throne on 14 May 1660.

House of Stewart

14 May 1660 [second reign]Charles II (b. 29 May 1630, d. 6 Feb 1685)
6 Feb 1685James VII [see James II and VII] (b. 14 Oct 1633, d. 5 Sept 1701); deposed by parliament
11 April 1689William II [see William III and II] (b. 14 Nov 1650 NS, d. 8 Feb 1702)
11 April 1689Mary II (b. 30 April 1662, d. 28 Dec 1694)
8 Feb 1702Anne (b. 6 Feb 1665, d. 1 Aug 1714)
The Act of Union with England took effect on 1 May 1707. Thereafter British monarchs combined rule of Scotland with England and Wales as part of Great Britain.