Balliol, backed by Edward III of England defeated the Regent, Earl of Mar, at the Battle of Dupplin Moor in Perthshire. He was crowned at Scone in September 1332, but three months later he was forced to flee half-naked back to England following a surprise attack by nobles loyal to David II.
He was restored by the English in 1333, following the Battle of Halidon Hill. Balliol then ceded the whole of the district formerly known as Lothian to Edward and paid homage to him as leige lord. With no serious support in Scotland, he was deposed again in 1334, and restored again in 1335, and finally deposed in 1341 when David II returned from France.
He returned to Scotland after the defeat of David II at Battle of Nevilles Cross in 1346 raising an insurrection in Galloway, and speedily penetrated to the central parts of the kingdom. He, however, gained no permanent footing.
In 1356, Balliol surrendered his title to Edward III in exchange for an English pension. He died in Wheatley, Doncaster around 1363, unmarried and without heir.