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Women in History of Scots Descent
Marjory Bruce

Marjory Bruce, Princess of Scotland, was the only child of the 1st marriage of Robert I, The Bruce. She was born probably in December 1296, the same eventful month that Edward I of England, the self-styled 'Hammer of the Scots', invaded Scotland and laid siege to Berwick.

At the end of June 1306 the 9-year-old princess, together with her step mother and other women-folk of The Bruce's family, were sent for safety to Kildrummy Castle (Aberdeenshire), escorted by Nigel Bruce and the Earl of Atholl. It was intended that they would then take refuge in Orkney until times were easier, but the English army was already at Aberdeen and the royal ladies moved on to Tain, north of Inverness, still hoping for a boat. Here they were captured in the sanctuary of St. Duthac and sent to Edward of England, then at Lanercost Priory in Cumberland. They were separated from each other and Marjorie was sent to a convent, where she remained until her release 8 years later.

She was not yet eighteen at the time of the battle of Bannockburn, 24 June 1314. One of the heroes of that great victory over the English was her second cousin once removed, Walter Stewart, 6th Lord High Steward, some four years her senior, whom she married in the following year. It was from that Stewart cousinship that the typically Stewart name of Marjorie first came into the family of Bruce, Robert the Bruce's mother and maternal grandmother both bearing that name. This last-named Marjorie had been the second of the three daughters of Walter, 3rd High Steward.

Part of the wedding dowry which Marjorie Bruce brought to her husband was the castle and Barony of Bathgate in Midlothian, which it was intended would become their private family residence; but this was not to be.

Whether through rashness, fearlessness or ignorance of the possible consequences, Princess Marjorie went out riding near Paisley while heavily pregnant. Her horse, taking fright at something, reared up, Marjorie was thrown violently to the ground and immediately went into premature labour. Her only child, the future Robert II, was delivered at the roadside by Caesarean section (the first authentic record of such an operation being performed since the birth of the eponymous Julius Caesar). The beautiful Marjorie died within a few hours, aged only about 19 years and 3 months, on 2 March 1316. Her last words are reported to have been 'He's a laddie; I ken he's a laddie; he will be king'. Her improbable dying prophecy eventually came true, but not for another fifty-five years.

The eighteen-year-old Marjorie Bruce being met at the border by her future husband, Walter, 6th High Steward
     Picture: The eighteen-year-old Marjorie Bruce being met
     at the border by her future husband, Walter, 6th High
     Steward, on her release from captivity in England after
     Bannockburn. of Scotland..

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