Robert was the son of Robert I's daughter Marjorie and her husband Walter the Steward.

He took Stewart as his surname, and so became the first monarch of the Royal House of Stewart. 

When he was in his 20s he ruled Scotland as Regent for his much younger uncle, David II, during David's minority and again after the king's capture at the Battle of Neville's Cross, west of Durham.

When he finally succeeded his uncle in 1371, at the age of 54, he was an old man by medieval standards and had difficulty controlling his nobles, who were eager to renew the war with England. 

At 70, he was described as having 'eyes the colour of sandalwood, which clearly showed he was no valiant man but one who would rather remain at home than march the field'.

Robert married twice and produced 21 children (eight were illegitimate), and the fact that his first wife's children were born outside the marriage created long-standing bitterness as Robert III's reign was to show. 

During Robert II's final years, his two eldest sons acted as his lieutenants. He died in 1390.