What Really Happened In Outlaw King's Final Battle?
While Outlaw King's ending is mostly historically accurate, the story varies slightly. Robert the Bruce's Scottish forces did triumph against the superior numbers of the English army at the real-life Battle of Loudoun Hill in 1307; following a victory against Aymer de Valance a month prior at the Battle of Glen Trool, Robert and Valance faced off again at Loudoun Hill, and the Bruce did successfully utilize the guerrilla warfare strategy of digging trenches in the bog to injure the English horses with spears.
However, there was no mano e mano duel between Robert the Bruce and the Prince of Wales to conclude the real-life battle with Edward's humiliation - that was a concoction of Outlaw King to pay off the rivalry between the two characters.
What Happened To Robert The Bruce And Scotland After Outlaw King?
Outlaw King's end text admits that Battle of Loudoun Hill was only "a turning point" in the eventual Scottish victory for their independence. The more pivotal event was the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. In 1313, Robert demanded that all remaining supporters of John Balliol, whose family also had claim to the throne of Scotland, acknowledge the Bruce's kingship and forfeit their lands and estates. Robert also demanded the surrender of the English garrison stationed at Stirling Castle - this prompted the former Prince of Wales, now crowned King Edward II, to retaliate with the largest invading army ever to invade Scotland.
Despite the 6000-strong Scottish army outnumbered by 2000 English cavalry and 25,000 infantry, the Scots had successfully waged guerrilla warfare on their land for years and knew how to repel the English. The bloody multi-day conflict saw the Scots again defeat the English, resulting in the deaths of thousands of English soldiers, and forcing Edward II to retreat in humiliation. The King of England was pursued by James "The Black" Douglas (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Outlaw King) to Dunbar, but Edward was able to flee to the safety of England by ship. Had Scotland captured Edward, they could have forced instant English recognition of Scottish demands.
Nevertheless, Bannockburn was a resounding victory for Robert the Bruce that politically consolidated his claim as King of Scots. It was only at this point that a prisoner exchange for captive English nobles forced Edward II to release Robert's wife Elizabeth and his daughter Marjorie, who had been England's prisoners since 1306; Robert and Elizabeth's reunion is the final scene of Outlaw King.
How Scotland Became Part of the United Kingdom
In reality, the First War of Scottish Independence ended not on a battlefield but at the negotiating table 21 years after Outlaw King's conclusion. In 1328, Robert the Bruce was 54 years old and though he was dying, the King of Scots had outlasted both Edward I and Edward II (who was killed by his own nobles). It was King Edward III who finally agreed to Scotland's terms after Bruce sent James Douglas to attack the north of England. Fearing that the Scots would take Northumbria, the English pressed for peace terms.
The Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton was signed in March 1328. After over 20 years of war, the English finally recognized King Robert I and acknowledged the independence of Scotland. Robert the Bruce died on June 7, 1329, and he went to his grave knowing he had achieved the peace and freedom for Scotland he had fought most of his life for - at least temporarily.
Although Robert's dying wish was for James Douglas to bring his heart on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Douglas was killed in Spain en route and Robert's heart never made it. Eventually, Robert's heart was interred in Melrose Abbey while the rest of the Outlaw King's remains were laid to rest at the mausoleum at Dunfermline Abbey.
Outlaw King is available to stream on Netflix.
- Outlaw King (2018) release date: Nov 09, 2018