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Alexander III
Coronation of King Alexander on Moot Hill, Scone. He is being greeted by the ollamh rígh, the royal poet, who is addressing him with the proclamation "Benach De Re Albanne" (= Beannachd Dé Rígh Alban, "God Bless the King of Scotland"); the poet goes on to recite Alexander's genealogy. By Alexander's side is Maol Choluim II, Earl of Fife holding the sword.
King of Scots
Reign 6 July 1249 – 19 March 1286
Coronation 13 July 1249, Scone
Predecessor Alexander II
Successor Margaret (disputed)
Spouse Margaret of England
Yolande de Dreux
Issue
Margaret, Queen of Norway
Alexander, Prince of Scotland
House House of Dunkeld
Father Alexander II of Scotland
Mother Marie de Coucy
Born 11 September [O.S. 4 September] 1241 (1241-09-11)
Roxburgh
Died 26 March [O.S. 19 March] 1286 (1286-03-27)
Burial Dunfermline Abbey

Alexander III (Medieval Gaelic: Alaxandair mac Alaxandair; Modern Gaelic: Alasdair mac Alasdair) (4 September 1241 – 19 March 1286), King of Scots, was born at Roxburgh, the only son of Alexander II by his second wife Marie de Coucy. Alexander's father died on 6 July 1249 and he became king at the age of eight, inaugurated at Scone on 13 July 1249.

The years of his minority featured an embittered struggle for the control of affairs between two rival parties, the one led by Walter Comyn, Earl of Menteith, the other by Alan Durward, Justiciar of Scotia. The former dominated the early years of Alexander's reign. At the marriage of Alexander to Margaret of England in 1251, Henry III seized the opportunity to demand from his son-in-law homage for the Scottish kingdom, but Alexander did not comply. In 1255 an interview between the English and Scottish kings at Kelso led to Menteith and his party losing to Durward's party. But though disgraced, they still retained great influence, and two years later, seizing the person of the king, they compelled their rivals to consent to the erection of a regency representative of both parties.

On attaining his majority at the age of 21 in 1262, Alexander declared his intention of resuming the projects on the Western Isles which the death of his father thirteen years before had cut short. He laid a formal claim before the Norwegian king Haakon. Haakon rejected the claim, and in the following year responded with a formidable invasion. Sailing around the west coast of Scotland he halted off the Isle of Arran, and negotiations commenced. Alexander artfully prolonged the talks until the autumn storms should begin. At length Haakon, weary of delay, attacked, only to encounter a terrific storm which greatly damaged his ships. The Battle of Largs (October 1263) proved indecisive, but even so, Haakon's position was hopeless. Baffled, he turned homewards, but died in Orkney on 15 December 1263. The Isles now lay at Alexander's feet, and in 1266 Haakon's successor concluded the Treaty of Perth by which he ceded the Isle of Man and the Western Isles to Scotland in return for a monetary payment. Norway retained only Orkney and Shetland in the area. In 1284, Alexander invested the title of Lord of the Isles in the head of the Macdonald family, Angus Macdonald, and over the next two centuries the Macdonald lords operated as if they were kings in their own right, frequently opposing the Scottish monarch.

Alexander had married Princess Margaret of England, a daughter of King Henry III of England and Eleanor of Provence, on 26 December 1251. She died in 1274, after they had three children:

  1. Margaret (28 February 1260 – 9 April 1283), who married King Eirik II of Norway
  2. Alexander, Prince of Scotland (21 January 1264 Jedburgh – 28 January 1284 Lindores Abbey); buried in Dunfermline Abbey
  3. David (20 March 1272 – June 1281 Stirling Castle); buried in Dunfermline Abbey

According to the Lanercost Chronicle, Alexander did not spend his decade as a widower alone: "he used never to forbear on account of season nor storm, nor for perils of flood or rocky cliffs, but would visit none too creditably nuns or matrons, virgins or widows as the fancy seized him, sometimes in disguise."

Towards the end of Alexander's reign, the death of all three of his children within a few years made the question of the succession one of pressing importance. In 1284 he induced the Estates to recognize as his heir-presumptive his granddaughter Margaret, the "Maid of Norway". The need for a male heir led him to contract a second marriage to Yolande de Dreux on 1 November 1285.

But the sudden death of the king dashed all such hopes. Alexander died in a fall from his horse in the dark while riding to visit the queen at Kinghorn in Fife on 19 March 1286, having spent the evening at Edinburgh Castle overseeing a meeting with royal advisors. He was advised by them not to make the journey over to Fife because of weather conditions, but travelled anyway. Alexander became separated from his guides and it is assumed that in the dark his horse lost its footing. The 44-year old king was found dead on the shore the following morning with a broken neck. Some texts have said that he fell off a cliff. Although there is no cliff at the site where his body was found there is a very steep rocky embankment - which would have been fatal in the dark. After Alexander's death, his strong realm was plunged into a period of darkness that would eventually lead to war with England. Had Alexander, who was a strong monarch, lived, things might have worked out differently (Ashley 2002, p. 156). He was buried in Dunfermline Abbey.

As Alexander left no surviving children the heir to the throne was his unborn child by Queen Yolande. When Yolande's pregnancy ended in a still-birth in November of 1286, Alexander's granddaughter Margaret became the heir. Margaret died, still uncrowned, on her way to Scotland in 1290. The inauguration of John Balliol as king on 30 November 1292 ended the six years of interregnum when the Guardians of Scotland governed the land.

Alexander was the last king in the direct male line from the legendary Conaire Mór.

Ancestry

See also

Sources

  • Scott, Robert McNair. Robert the Bruce: King of Scots, 1996
  • Ashley, Mike (2002), British Kings & Queens, Carroll & Graf, ISBN 0-7867-1104-3  .
Alexander III of Scotland
Born: 4 September 1241 Died: 19 March 1286
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Alexander II
King of Scots
1249–86
Succeeded by
Margaret (disputed)
Scottish royalty
Preceded by
Margaret of Scotland, Countess of Kent
Heir of Scotland
as heir apparent
1241–1249
Succeeded by
Margaret of Scotland, Countess of Kent
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ALEXANDER III. (1241-1285), king of Scotland, son of Alexander II. by his second wife Mary de Coucy, was born in 1241. At the age of eight years the death of his father called him to the throne. The years of his minority were marked by an embittered struggle for the control of affairs between two rival parties, the one led by Walter Comyn, earl of Menteith, the other by Alan Durward, the justiciar. The former was in the ascendant during the early years of the reign. At the marriage of Alexander to Margaret of England in 1251, Henry III. seized the opportunity to demand from his son-in-law homage for the Scottish kingdom, but the claim was refused. In 1255 an interview between the English and Scottish kings at Kelso resulted in the deposition of Menteith and his party in favour of their opponents. But though disgraced, they still retained great influence; and two years later, seizing the person of the king, they compelled their rivals to consent to the erection of a regency representative of both parties. On attaining his majority in 1262, Alexander declared his intention of resuming the projects on the Western Isles which had been cut short by the death of his father thirteen years before. A formal claim was laid before the Norwegian king Haakon. Not only was this unsuccessful, but next year Haakon replied by a formidable invasion. Sailing round the west coast of Scotland he halted off Arran, where negotiations were opened. These were artfully prolonged by Alexander until the autumn storms should begin. At length Haakon, weary of delay, attacked, only to encounter a terrific storm which greatly damaged his ships. The battle of Largs, fought next day, was indecisive. But even so Haakon's position was hopeless. Baffled he turned homewards, but died on the way. The Isles now lay at Alexander's feet, and in 1266 Haakon's successor concluded a treaty by which the Isle of Man and the Western Isles were ceded to Scotland in return for a money payment, Orkney and Shetland alone being retained. Towards the end of Alexander's reign, the death of all his three children within a few years made the question of the succession one of pressing importance. In 1284 he induced the Estates to recognize as his heir-presumptive his grand-daughter Margaret, the "Maid of Norway"; and next year the desire for a male heir led him to contract a second marriage. But all such hopes were defeated by the sudden death of the king, who was killed by a fall from his horse in the dark while riding to visit the queen at Kinghorn on the 16th of March 1285.


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Simple English

{{Infobox_Monarch | name = Alexander III | title = King of Scots | image = | reign = 6 July, 1249 – 19 March, 1286 | coronation = 13 July, 1249, Scone, Perth & Kinross, Scotland | predecessor = Alexander II | successor = Margaret (disputed) | consort = Margaret of England
Yolande de Dreux | issue = Margaret, Alexander, David | royal house = House of Dunkeld | royal anthem = | father = Alexander II | mother = [[Marie de Coucy] | place of death = | place of burial= Dunfermline Abbey, Scotland |}}

Alexander III (Mediaeval Gaelic: Alaxandair mac Alaxandair; Modern Gaelic: Alasdair mac Alasdair), King of Scots, was born at Roxburgh on 4 September 1241 and died on 19 March, 1286.

He was the only son of Alexander II with his second wife, Marie de Coucy. Alexander's father died on 6 July 1249 and he officially became king at the age of eight. This happened at Scone on 13 July, 1249.

File:Alexander III and Ollamh Rí
Coronation of King Alexander on Moot Hill, Scone. He is being greeted by the ollamh rígh, the royal poet, who is addressing him with the proclamation "Benach De Re Albanne" (Beannachd Dé Rígh Alban, "God Bless the King of Scotland"). The poet goes on to recite Alexander's family history.

{{BD|1241|1286|Alexander 03 of Scotland]]


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