Having secured this, Alexander returned to his kingdom; and in the month of February 1261, his young queen was delivered at Windsor of a daughter, Margaret, afterwards married to Eric king of Norway.
In the beginning of the following year, Henry seems to have interposed his good offices, to prevent a rupture between Alexander and Haco king of Norway, regarding the possession of the western islands, the petty chiefs of which had for a long period been feudatory to the Norwegian crown." Their habits of constant war and piratical excursion had at this time rendered the Norwegians a formidable people; and their near vicinity to Scotland enabled them, at a very early period, to overspread the whole of the Western Archipelago. The little sovereignties of these islands, under the protection of a warlike government, appear to have been in a flourishing condition. They were crowded with people; and the useful and ornamental arts were carried in them to a higher degree of perfection than in the other European countries. A poet of the north, in describing a dress unusually gorgeous, adds, that it was spun by the Sudreyans. And even in science and literature, this remarkable people had, in their colonies especially, attained to no inconsiderable distinction.