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King William I 'the Lion' of Scotland
Queen Ermengarde de Beaumont of Scotland
(Abt 1170-1234)
Enguerrand III Lord of Coucy
(Abt 1182-1242)
Marie de Montmirel
(Abt 1184-1267)
King Alexander II 'the Peaceful' of Scotland
Marie de Coucy

King Alexander III 'the Glorius' of Scotland


Family Links

1. Margaret Plantagenet

2. Yolande Comtesse de Montfort

King Alexander III 'the Glorius' of Scotland

  • Born: 4 Sep 1241, Roxburgh, Roxburghshire, Scotland
  • Marriage (1): Margaret Plantagenet on 26 Dec 1251 in Scotland
  • Marriage (2): Yolande Comtesse de Montfort on 14 Oct 1285 in Jedburgh, Roxburghshire, Scotland
  • Died: 19 Mar 1286, Kinghorn, Fifeshire, Scotland at age 44
  • Buried: 29 Mar 1286, Dunfermline, Fifeshire, Scotland

  General Notes:

ALEXANDER III (1249-86) Alexander was only 8 when he inherited the kingdom of Scotland from his father. A regent was to be appointed but the nobles could not agree and the country suffered internal turmoil until Alexander came of age. At 10 he married Henry III's daughter, Margaret. During his childhood he established good relations with Edward I, his brother-in-law. At this time Scotland had a population of about 400,000 and was enjoying an age of prosperity. Berwick was growing rich on foreign trade. Wool, fur and fish were exported. The ownership of the Western Isles was the first problem he faced after his coronation. The Earl of Ross had declared war upon King Haakon of Norway to try and regain possession of the Western Isles. This terrified the local people for they could remember the fierce Viking raids which persisted into the 13th century. Haakon sailed from Norway in 1263 with a fleet of over 100 ships. The ships were of solid oak with a golden dragon at the bow and stern, an impressive sight. Astronomers have confirmed that the day after his arrival in the Orkneys there was a total eclipse of the sun. The Norwegian soldiers considered the eclipse to be a bad omen. Haakon, however, continued to advance. Alexander in the meanwhile reinforced all the castles on the shore and gathered a large army at the place where he thought Haakon would come ashore. He waited, knowing that there was a probability of terrible storms during September and October. As it happened a great storm did blow through Haakon's ships. The Norwegians believed that the storm was caused by the magic of Scottish witches. The Scots on the other hand felt that the storm had been sent by St. Margaret to save their country. A battle did take place on land but Haakon's fleet had been so decimated by the storms that he decided to retreat and he returned home. Haakon died shortly after that and Alexander III secured a treaty with his successor, King Magnus. This was the Treaty of Perth whereby Alexander regained the Western Isles by paying 4000 merks to the Norwegians and 100 merks a year for an indefinite period. The yearly payment continued into the 14th century. Orkney and Shetland remained under the control of the Norwegians and it was a long time before they too became a part of Scotland. His wife Margaret, and soon after two of their sons died (one source saying that two sons died and then his wife, Margaret, died). Alexander took a second wife, Yolande in hopes of producing a male heir. He had only been married to Yolande for about 5 months when eager to be with her he rode at night during a storm against advice. His horse stumbled and threw him over a cliff to his death. This left his granddaughter Margaret, Maid of Norway, as heir apparent. Alexander's only daughter, also named Margaret, had married King Eric II of Norway as part of the Treaty of Perth. The daughter died in childbirth, leaving an infant daughter as heir to the Scottish throne. At the time of Alexander's death, the granddaughter was still in Norway. He had made his lords swear to accept Margaret as Queen and they had agreed that until she came of age, the country would be governed by the "Guardians", the wisest and most important of the bishops and barons. Among the six guardians chosen, Robert Bruce the elder was excluded, although he had been recognized as heir in 1238 when Alexander II had lost his first wife without issue. Bruce the elder was the senior male descendant of David I. Because of the events that followed, it would take nearly half a century for Scotland to regain its own monarch and sovereignty. From the History of the Monarchy: Kings & Queens of Scotland, Born in 1241, the only son of Alexander II and his second wife, Marie de Coucy, Alexander became king at the age of seven, on the death of his father. On Christmas Day 1251, when he was ten, he was knighted at York by Henry III, and the following day he was married to the English monarch's eldest daughter, Princess Margaret. Alexander proved a strong-willed king who, despite the English influence in his youth, refused to swear homage for his kingdom. He continued his father's efforts to establish Scottish mastery of the Isles. In 1263 his army inflicted a notable defeat on Hakon, King of Norway, at the Battle of Largs in Ayrshire. The Norwegians were subsequently forced to concede to him the Western Isles and the Isle of Man, under the treaty of Perth in 1266. Alexander established good relations with his brother-in-law Edward I. On 19 August 1274, Alexander and Margaret attended the coronation of her brother in Westminster Abbey. Margaret died six months later, leaving three children. Within a few years, Alexander suffered a further series of family tragedies. His younger son David died in 1281 at the age of eight; his daughter Margaret, who had married King Eric of Norway, died in childbirth in 1283; and his elder son Alexander died childless in 1284 after a long illness. A week after the prince's death, the Scottish Parliament recognised Margaret, the little daughter of Eric and Margaret, as the heir presumptive to the Scottish throne. Alexander was only 44, and so he decided that the best way to avoid a constitutional crisis was to remarry and have more sons. On 14 October 1285 he therefore took as his wife Yolande, Comtesse de Montfort, daughter of Robert IV, Comte de Dreux. Five months later, on 19 March 1286, Alexander's horse stumbled and he fell from a cliff near Kinghorn, Fife. The king was killed, leaving the Scots to mourn an energetic, effective monarch who had brought them peace and prosperity.

Alexander married Margaret Plantagenet, daughter of King Henry III Plantagenet of England and Eleanore de Provence Bérenger, on 26 Dec 1251 in Scotland. (Margaret Plantagenet was born on 29 Sep 1240 and died in 1274.)

Alexander next married Yolande Comtesse de Montfort, daughter of Robert IV Comte De Dreux and Beatrice de Montfort, on 14 Oct 1285 in Jedburgh, Roxburghshire, Scotland. (Yolande Comtesse de Montfort was born in 1263 in Dreux, France and died on 24 Aug 1322.)

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