Scotland: King Alexander III

On a wild and stormy night in 1286, King Alexander III of Scotland was riding to Kinghorn, and changed horses at Burntisland.  The storm was so fierce, trees were bending with the winds, it was suggested that Alexander should hold up at Burntisland for the night, to let the storm ease.  He wouldn’t hear of it, he wanted to get home.  He lost control of his horse, and it galloped over a steep cliff, and both Alexander and his horse plunged to their deaths.

The events of that night, had far reaching consequences across Scotland, and changed its path of history, for centuries to come. 

Plantagenet England, in the shape of King Edward I, saw his chance, to gain control of Scotland.

The heir of King Alexander III of Scotland was Margaret the Maid of Norway.  Margaret was the daughter of King Eric II of Norway, and granddaughter of King Alexander III of Scotland.  She became Queen, aged just two.

The “Guardians of Scotland,” negotiated a marriage between Margaret, the Maid of Norway and Queen of Scotland with Prince Edward of Caernarvon, son of King Edward I of England.  An agreement was made through the “Treaty of Birgham,” that the children of Margaret and Edward would rule both England and Scotland.

Margaret was taken ill in 1290, during the sea voyage from Norway to Scotland.  Her ships destination had been Leith, but rough seas, blew them towards Orkney.  They took shelter from the storms at St.Margaret’s Hope on South Ronaldsay in the Orkney’s.

Margaret never saw her future husband, as she died in the Orkney’s, in the September of 1290.  Her body was returned to Norway, and laid to rest beside her mother in Christ’s Kirk, Bergen.

With the death of Margaret, the Maid of Norway, the Scots had no true heir to the throne, and Anglo-Scottish relations lay in tatters.

The Scottish nobles could not agree upon a successor to the throne, and turned to King Edward I of England to arbitrate for them.

No fewer than thirteen claimants to the Scottish throne stepped forward.  Edward wanted a puppet King, one who would answer to him, and so John Balliol was chosen.

Over the next four hundred years, Scotland took on the might of English forces, in their bid for Independence.

1603, saw the change in Scotland’s history… James VI of Scotland becomes King James I of England, bringing about the “Union of Crowns.”

In 1707 the “Act of Union,” brought England and Scotland together, with the creation of a single Parliament of the United Kingdom at the Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament).

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