Death of the Maiden of Norway
It was now certain that she had sailed; the guardians of the realm, accompanied by commissioners from England, were preparing to receive her; and all eyes, in both countries, were turned towards the sea, anxious to welcome the child on whom so many fair hopes depended, when accounts were brought that she had been seized with a mortal disease on her passage, and had died at Orkney. She was only in her eighth year. This fatal event, which may justly be called a great national calamity, happened in September 1290, and its first announcement struck sorrow and despair into the heart of the kingdom. In 1284, the crown had been solemnly settled on the descendants of Alexander the Third; but the parliament and the nation, confident in the vigorous manhood of the king, and the health of his progeny, had looked no farther. All was now overcast. The descendants of Alexander were extinct; and Bruce and Baliol, with other noble earls or barons who claimed kindred with the bloodroyal, began, some secretly, some more boldly, to form their schemes of ambition, and gather strength to assert them.