Alexander 3

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Alexander III / Kings and Queens

  • Name  : Alexander III
  • Born  : 1241
  • Died  : 1286
  • Category  : Kings and Queens
  • Finest Moment : Battle of Largs, 1263.

The only son of Alexander (The Lion) II and Marie de Coucy, Alexander III was born on 4 September 1241 at Roxburgh. He was made king at the age of 8, on the death of his father. Having been betrothed in infancy to Princess Margaret, daughter of Henry III of England, he was married to her two years later. He was ten, she 11.

His leadership was proven in 1263, when he soundly defeated a Norwegian invasion led by King Haakon at the Battle of Largs.

A bit of a black cloud seems to have hung over Alexander's head as he moved through life; though Scotland was reasonable peaceful and prosperous, his family statistics were less so. It makes for dismal reading. Margaret died in 1275. Their daughter, Margaret, married to Haakon's grandson, Eric II of Norway, but in 1283, while giving birth to a daughter (Margaret, Maid of Norway), she died. Alexander's younger son David died in 1281, to be followed by the elder son and heir Alexander in 1284. Both were childless.

Attempting to produce an heir for his country, Alexander married again in 1285, this time to Yolande of Dreux. Less than six months later, on 19 March 1286, and despite the bad weather, he was determined to rejoin his new bride in Kinghorn, Fife, he being in Edinburgh at the time at a Council. The weather all year so far had been bad; there were omens in the skies. He feasted with his men then despite the signs rode off to Fife with three squires and two local guides for company. He negotiated two ferries successfully and continued through the black night by the coast road. At some point he disappeared, to be found in the dawn at the foot of cliffs, neck broken. Foul play was not suspected, it was his time.

But Alexander had been thoughtful enough to make one crucial provision for his country. A week after his son and heir Alexander had died, he recognised Margaret, Maid of Norway, as his rightful heir. On his death on the cost of Fife, she would be three years old. But for a few more precarious years, Scotland would be protected by six appointed Guardians.


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