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Alexander III
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Beginning to A.D. 350
A.D. 350 to 794
A.D. 1260 to

Alexander the Third (Alexander III)

Scotland in the Thirteenth Century

The accession of a minor might well have caused a political crisis in Scottish affairs (as it would do in later years such as the Stuart dynasty). However, Alexander's kingship was perceived to be blessed by God as within two months, Queen Margaret, wife of Malcolm Canmore, was canonised. This gave the royal line the impression of a saintly ancestry and which was celebrated in June 1250 by movement of her remains to a new shrine near the great altar in Dunfermline Abbey.

In December 1251, at the age of ten, he was taken by his court to York to be knighted by Henry III before being married to Henry's daughter Margaret. It gave the English king an immediate opportunity to raise the dormant question of Scotland's subjection to England. Luckily he was well advised and managed to defer the question of lordship.

The years of Alexander's minority in the 1250s were an unsettled time as different nobles and their supporters vied for control of the king's person (and therefore the government). In addition the neighbouring King, Henry III often interfered with the excuse of concern for his daughter's wellbeing.

When Alexander's minority ended in 1259, on his eighteenth birthday, the reins of government were firmly held by nobles in favour of the King. One of the most powerful groups were the Comyn family, who exercised power on behalf of the king in both the north and the south-west.

With this control over the mainland he attempted to resume his father's desire to wrest the Hebrides from Norwegian control. In 1261 he sent an embassy to Norway to discuss the Scottish claim to the Hebrides, but King Hakon would not concede in any way and in the summer of 1262 news reached Norway of savage raids on the Isle of Skye from the mainland.

The Norsemen were coming, AGAIN!

Pictures of Castles