© 2019 by Clan Forbes Society, Inc.

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Kenneth Mac Alpin (center), King of the Picts and First King of the Scots

Robert I (the Bruce) with wife Elizabeth de Burgh

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Click to download PDF of Royal Bloodline of the House of Forbes

Royal Bloodline of the House of Forbes

If you can trace your genealogy back to James, 2nd Lord Forbes, then you can claim a heritage of royal blood stretching back through time through the Kings of Scotland to the Kings of the Picts. Your ancestry includes such royal names as Stewart, Bruce and Mac Alpin – and your royal blood is mostly due to the maternal line.

The royal bloodline of the House of Forbes is rooted in both the ancient kings of the Picts who controlled northeastern Scotland and the royal house of Dalriada which dominated the western highlands and islands. These two dynasties of the Pictland and Dalriada were united when Fergusia, daughter of Angus II married Eocha of the Royal House of Dalriada. Their son Alpin gave birth to Kenneth Mac Alpin in about 810 A.D. who united the tribes against the incursions of the Norsemen and was recognized as the first King of the Scots from 843 A.D. until his death in 858.

For over five generations (848 – 1034), the House of MacAlpin maintain its control over the monarchy. When Malcom II died without a male heir, his grandson Duncan I (through his eldest daughter Bethóc) assumed the throne as the first of the House of Dunkeld. The death of Alexander III in 1286 A.D., led to a chaotic 20-year period which was eventually resolved with the claim of Robert the Bruce in 1306.  Although the original “Brus” family had its origins in France, he claimed his royal bloodline as the great-grandson of Isobel of Huntingdon, niece of William I, the Lion.

The House of Bruce lasted through only the death of Robert I’s son David II in 1371. Robert I’s daughter Marjorie had married the ancestral High Steward of Scotland, from which Walter Stewart took his surname. Their son Robert II claimed the throne in 1371 A.D. as the first of the House of Stewart. Robert II married Elizabeth Mure of Rowallan and their first-born son was John Stewart. On his father’s death in 1390, John ascended to the throne with the name of Robert III at the age of 53. Their son was crowned James I in 1406 and their daughter Princess Mary Stewart married George Douglas, 1st Earl of Angus (1380 – 1403).  

A contemporary of the Earl of Angus was Alexander Forbes, also born in about 1380 to Sir John Forbes (of the “Black Lip.”)  Alexander has strong connections to the Stewart family through Alexander Stewart, bastard son of Alexander Stewart (the “Wolf of Badenoch”), Earl of Buchan and son of Robert II. In 1408, Forbes accompanied Stewart and Sir Walter Lindsay to England to a jousting meet organized by Lord Beaumont. The Scottish poet and chronicler Andrew de Wyntoun praised Forbes as one of the four Scottish knights who bested the English knights in the tournament and wrote that "for gret pris and renoun, the Scots knights won gret commendatioun." Forbes proved his fighting skills and bravery during the 1411 Battle of Harlaw under the command of Stewart “who entertained such an extraordinary esteem of him that he entered into a noble friendship, sympathy and affection -- indissoluble until the Earle's death” (House of Forbes, 1937.)

In 1421, Forbes married Elizabeth, the only daughter of George Douglas, Earl of Angus, and granddaughter of Robert III. In 1423, his friend Alexander Stewart, the Earl of Mar, granted Forbes the lands of Alford, the foundation of the estates around the present Castle Forbes (Putachie.) In 1430 King James, his wife’s uncle, granted to "dilectis nostris Alexandro de Forbes, Militi, et Elizabeth, sponsae sue" (ibid.) additional lands in Edinbanchory, Kearn and Mar. By July 1445, Forbes was made a Lord of Parliament. Thus through Alexander Forbes’s battle skills and bravery, the House of Forbes was firmly established with land, title, and a royal bloodline.