Bold and warlike, Edward was Robert Bruce’s only surviving younger brother and heir to the throne.
A veteran fighter, Edward was a key figure in the desperate years of guerrilla combat before Bannockburn, besieging and capturing a number of castles in western Scotland. After the slaughter of his three brothers and capture of his sisters by the English, the conflict had a keenly-felt personal edge.
It was Edward’s actions which triggered the battle of Bannockburn. In 1314 Edward held Stirling Castle under siege. He made a deal with the occupying commander, Philip Mowbray that unless the castle was relieved by the English by 24 June, then it would be handed back to the Scots. This brought Edward II towards Stirling and the battle was on.
Edward commanded one of the three divisions of Bruce’s army. He led a tight-packed schiltron of spearmen who saw off the English vanguard on 23 June.
On 24 June his schiltron advanced relentlessly, driving back the disordered English cavalry and slaying the reckless Gloucester.
In 1315, Edward invaded Ireland, then under English rule, as part of Bruce’s campaign to disrupt Engkish lordship there.
He was proclaimed High King of Ireland with the support of his Irish allies but was killed in battle three years later.