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Monarchs of Scotland


The MacAlpin dynasty, which ruled Scotland throughout the Dark Ages, united the warring races of Picts and Scots as one nation. The reign of this dynasty begins with Kenneth I MacAlpin and covers the bitter blood feud fought between the two opposing lines of his successors for possession of the throne.


The short-lived House of Moray includes the reign of Macbeth, of Shakespearian fame, who usurped the throne of Scotland, and was very different from its depiction by Shakespeare to his audiences.


At the start of the Middle Ages, the House of Dunkeld seized the Scottish throne, replacing the line of Gaelic Kings which had ruled since the ninth century. It produced such varying characters as the devout David I, and Alexander I, known as the Fierce. The House of Dunkeld has a saint in the person of Margaret, the wife of Malcolm III Canmore. She was also one of the last representatives of the Anglo-Saxon House of Wessex, which ruled England for centuries, until shortly before the Norman conquest.


Edward I of England's attempts to rule Scotland resulted in the Scottish Wars of Independence, which saw the rise of one of Scotland's most famous sons, William Wallace. Although Wallace was never the king, he raised his countrymen to fight for the cause of freedom. After the death of Wallace, the Scottish resistance was taken up by Robert the Bruce, Scotland's greatest Monarch, who lead his country to finally win freedom at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.


After the Bruce dynasty failed in the male line, on the death of Robert's only son, the throne of Scotland was occupied by the Stewart dynasty, which descended from the Bruce's daughter. Mary Queen of Scots was the last of their line. Beautiful, but reckless and impulsive, Mary was suspected of responsibilty for the murder of her second husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley and further alienated the Scots lords by marrying James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, who was widely believed to be his murderer. She abdicated the throne, and endured a long term of imprisonment at the hands of her English cousin, Elizabeth I. In 1567 she was beheaded at Fotheringay in Northamptonshire. The crowns of Scotland and England were finally united in the person of Mary's son, James VI of Scotland (who was also James I of England).


For more detailed information, see:


Seal of the Order of Alba
The elements of the seal of the Order of Alba are:
  • A unicorn rampant, the traditional symbol of royalty
  • The red lion rampant, long a symbol of Scotland
  • The Stone of Destiny, upon which Monarchs of Scotland were traditionally crowned 
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