The Guardians

Six men were appointed to help rule the kingdom. They were called the Guardians of the Realm:

  • the Bishops William Fraser of St Andrews and Robert Wishart of Glasgow
  • the barons John Comyn of Badenoch and James Stewart
  • the Earls Alexander Comyn of Buchan and Duncan of Fife

The Guardians agreed that the nobility of the realm would swear an oath of loyalty to the young queen, but in the meantime they would rule in the name of the Scottish crown. However, they already had a problem as the possibility of civil war threatened the kingdom.

Robert Bruce, the grandfather of the future king, had gathered a small force and captured several royal castles. He was able to get support from James Stewart, two other Scottish Earls and the Lord of Islay.

The group targeted allies and territory connected to the Comyns. The Guardians opposed Bruce's seizure of power. They gathered an army and Bruce's rebellion was quashed.

The Guardians were divided by struggles among themselves. Duncan, Earl of Fife was accused of using his position of power to steal. He was murdered by one of his relatives. Fighting almost broke out in the north east of Scotland between the two Comyn Guardians and the Earl of Atholl.

However, the Scottish nobles were able to agree the following:

  • a regent would be appointed to take control until Margaret was old enough to rule on her own
  • they would find Margaret a husband to ensure that the royal bloodline could continue
  • the Guardians would swear an oath of loyalty to the young queen in her absence