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  • Elizabeth de Burgh

    Captured queen

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Who was she?

Aged just 13, de Burgh became Robert Bruce’s second wife in 1302. She was the daughter of the Earl of Ulster, a powerful Anglo-Irish nobleman – and an ally of Edward I.

In 1306 she became queen of Scotland when Bruce was crowned king, but only months later she became a fugitive after Bruce’s defeat at Methven. She and Bruce’s sisters and daughter were captured by the Earl of Ross and handed over to Edward I.

In captivity

Bruce’s female family and supporters were treated harshly – his own sister was imprisoned in a cage for several years.

But because her father remained loyal to Edward I – and because she was a valuable hostage - de Burgh was treated more favourably. She was kept under lock and key, but by 1312 was allowed servants and an allowance.

After Bannockburn

After his victory, Bruce negotiated the release of de Burgh and the other royal prisoners in exchange for the captured Earl of Hereford.

They went on to have four children, including David, heir to the Scottish throne. She died in 1327.

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