Who was he?

Scotland’s great warrior king, Robert Bruce, was crowned in 1306, soon after killing his rival for the throne, John Comyn. At first his grip on the country was shaky.

For the next eight years Bruce fought a brutal civil war against his own opponents in Scotland and a guerrilla war of raids and ambushes against occupying English forces. He was careful to avoid full-on confrontations with a far mightier army.

However, in 1314 his brother, Edward Bruce, agreed a deal with Philip Mowbray, keeper of Stirling Castle. A direct confrontation with Edward II’s army now seemed inevitable.

At Bannockburn

Bruce was a skilled tactician who knew that there was no way his men could defeat Edward’s army on the open field.

Even after his personal victory over de Bohun on 23 June and the triumph of the spearmen over Clifford’s cavalry, he still wasn’t convinced that they should risk another day’s fighting.

However, after Alexander Seton left the English army and reported confusion and low morale, Bruce decided to go for it and rallied his men around him. The next day he led his army to their astonishing victory.

After Bannockburn

Bruce spent the rest of his life trying to strengthen his position as ruler and defend Scotland’s independence.

It wasn’t until 1328 that the English finally recognised Bruce as king of Scots. He died in 1329 – and almost immediately the English invaded again.

Brutal but humane, fearsome in battle, yet a thoughtful tactician, Bruce has gone down in history as one of Scotland’s most inspiring leaders.