The Stewart dynasty descended from King Robert I's daughter and her husband, Walter the Steward. Despite early unrest and weak government caused by several Stewart kings succeeding as minors, the dynasty flourished for over three centuries.

During this time, Scotland moved forward to become a modern and prosperous nation. Stewart monarchs such as King James IV and VI were Renaissance patrons of artistic, scientific, commercial, religious and political endeavour, sponsoring figures including the poet Robert Henryson and humanist George Buchanan.

Also of significance was the arrival in the mid-sixteenth century of the Reformation movement, bringing about the replacement of Catholic Mary Queen of Scots by her son King James VI.

It was through the Stewart dynasty that the two thrones of England and Scotland - and later the governments - came to be united.

The 'Marriage of the Thistle and the Rose' took place at Stirling Castle in 1503 between King James IV and Princess Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Henry VII of England.

This union of the Scottish and English Royal families eventually led in 1603 to the succession of a Stewart (now with a change of spelling) to the throne of England.