The House of Stuart, originally Stewart, was a European royal house that originated in Scotland. The dynasty’s patrilineal, putatively Breton ancestors had held the office of High Steward of Scotland since Walter FitzAlan in around 1150, after arriving by way of Norman England. The royal Stewart line was founded by Robert II (a maternal grandson of Robert the Bruce), whose descendants were Kings and Queens of Scots from 1371 until the union with England in 1707. Mary, Queen of Scots, was brought up in France, where she adopted the French spelling of the name, Stuart.
In 1503, James IV married Margaret Tudor, thus linking the royal houses of Scotland and England. Upon the death of Elizabeth I of England in 1603 without heirs, the Union of the Crowns saw James IV’s great grandson James VI of Scotland succeed the thrones of England and Ireland as James I. Except for the period of the Commonwealth, 1649–1660, the Stuarts were monarchs of the British Isles and its growing empire, until the death of Queen Anne in 1714.[note 3] In total, nine Stewart/Stuart monarchs ruled Scotland alone from 1371 until 1603. The last ruler of Scotland alone was James VI, who in 1603 became the first dual monarch of England and Scotland. Following the Glorious Revolution in 1688, two Stuart queens ruled the isles: Mary II and Anne. Both were the Protestant daughters of James VII and II by his first wife. They were the great-grandchildren of James VI and I. Their father had converted to Catholicism and his new wife gave birth to a son in 1688, who was brought up a Roman Catholic and preceded his half-sisters; so James was deposed by Parliament in 1689, in favour of his daughters. But neither had any children who survived to adulthood, so under the terms of the Act of Settlement 1701 and the Act of Security 1704, the crown passed to the House of Hanover on the death of Queen Anne in 1714. During the reign of the Stuarts, Scotland developed from a relatively poor and feudal country into a prosperous, modern and centralised state.[clarification needed] They ruled during the transitive period in European history between the Middle Ages, via the Renaissance, to the midpoint of the early modern period. Monarchs such as James IV were known for sponsoring exponents of the Northern Renaissance such as the poet Robert Henryson, among others. After the Stuarts reigned over all of Great Britain, the arts and sciences continued to develop; William Shakespeare wrote many of his best known plays during the Jacobean era, while institutions such as the Royal Society and the Royal Mail were established during the reign of Charles II.