Alexander was King of Scotland during the difficult reign of King John in England. He died on this day in 1249.
While his brother was a popular King, John was very unpopular with the barons of England, leading to the infamous Magna Carta.
In 1215, the barons of England invited Prince Louis of France to invade England and remove John from the throne. By this time King John was ill, though still fighting for his kingdom. Alexander took his armies into England, making it all the way to Dover to meet with the invading French armies from the Prince, ready to support his overthrow of the English.
By the time the Prince had arrived, the King had died and the barons changed their minds about who they wanted to be ruled by and turned on the French. Louis was sent back to France and Alexander took his armies back to the north.
A peace treaty was drawn up in 1217 between the new English King Henry III. Prince Louis and Alexander, being one of the first times that Scotland was recognised as a kingdom in treaties. A condition of this treaty was the marriage of Alexander to Henry’s sister, Joan.
The marriage seemed to be cordial, though no children came from it. She died in 1238 and he re-married Marie de Courcy the year after, who gave him the son who would become his heir, Alexander.
Another important time from Alexander’s rule was in 1237, when he finally ceded Scottish claims to Northumberland in a treaty with Henry III and the border between England and Scotland was agreed upon. This border is almost the same as today’s border, with the exception of Berwick-Upon-Tweed, which has changed hands many times since then.
After this, Alexander concentrated on trying to add the Western Isles to his kingdom. They were under Norwegian control at this time. He tried to buy them, but failed. An attempt to force the Lord of Argyll to cede his allegiance to Norway and come under the Scottish kingdom led to his taking an invasion force to the Isles.
Alexander made it as far as the Isle of Kerrera, where he was taken ill and died. He was interred at Melrose Abbey.
An interesting life for this Scottish King. He is to be remembered as the only Scottish King to ever have invaded England and taken his armies all the way to the south coast of England. Quite a feat when you think of it !!!!