The death of little Margaret, Maid of Norway threw the Scottish succession wide open and led to many (men) fighting over who should be the next King of Scots. Of course, the King of England thought himself the best man to decide on this matter and in the following years and during the First War of Scottish Independence, the female relatives of King Robert (I) the Bruce of Scotland were particularly bad off when they were captured by the English.
The movie Outlaw King does include the marriage of Robert the Bruce, who proclaimed himself King of Scots, and Elizabeth de Burgh. It also shows his daughter Marjorie Bruce from his first marriage to Isabella of Mar. The two grow close and during their attempt to escape from the English they are taken captive and separated. But where are the others? History tells us that Mary and Christina Bruce, Robert’s sisters, were also taken prisoner, as was one of his female supporters, Isabella MacDuff.
Outlaw King shows that Marjorie was sent to a convent, though her original punishment had been the same as her aunt Mary and Isabella MacDuff who were hung in cages. For Isabella, Edward I sent the following instructions: Let her be closely confined in an abode of stone and iron made in the shape of a cross, and let her be hung up out of doors in the open air at Berwick, that both in life and after her death, she may be a spectacle and eternal reproach to travellers. Isabella would spend four years in the cage and she wasn’t alive when the prisoner exchange happened. Her exact date of death is uncertain. Christina was sent to a nunnery while Elizabeth was held under house arrest under quite harsh conditions. The women were held for several years, although the movie makes it appears as though Elizabeth is held for just a few weeks and she barely seems to age.
In the end, Robert is victorious and is romantically reunited with Elizabeth on a beach and we learn that she was released in a prisoner exchange. There is no mention of Marjorie, who became the mother of the first Stuart monarch, and tragically died at the age of 19 in childbirth.
Overall, I enjoyed the pace of the movie and it is an enticing story. However, the stories of the women are sorely lacking and it makes the movie feel incomplete. You can read more about the women’s imprisonment here.