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The Maid of Norway
In 1286 the King of Scotland, Alexander III, died. The Scottish King died because he ignored advice from his men to not travel in bad weather back from Edinburgh Castle back to see his wife across the Firth of Forth where she was living. The King managed to take the ferry across the river but at midnight disappeared into the dark and was found dead the next day. Alexander's granddaughter Margaret, the Maid of Norway, was the heir to the Scottish throne. Margaret was living in Norway as Alexander's daughter, also called Margaret and known as Margaret of Scotland, had married Eric the King of Norway. King Edward I of England arranged a marriage between Margaret, the Maid of Norway and his young son Prince Edward, the future King of England. This agreement known as the Treaty of Brigham was meant to bring peace between England and Scotland.
In 1290 Margaret sailed from Norway to Scotland but during the journey she became ill and on the Orkney islands she tragically died. There was now no obvious heir to the Scottish throne.
Claimants to the Scottish throne
There were more than 10 claimants who came forward to claim the Scottish throne. Of these the three most important claimants were all descended from David, the Earl of Huntingdon who was the brother of William the Lion, King of Scotland from 1165 until 1214. The three men were John Balliol, Robert Bruce and John Hastings.
(i) Floris, Count of Holland
Floris, Count of Holland claimed the throne through Ada of Huntingdon, his great-grandmother and sister of William the Lion, King of Scotland. His claim was not taken seriously.
(ii) Robert de Pinkeney
Robert de Pinkeney claimed the Scottish throne through his great-grandmother Marjorie of Huntingdon, the sister of William the Lion, King of Scotland.
(iii) William de Ros
The claim of William de Ros was based on his great-grandfather's marriage to Isabella, the daughter of William the Lion, King of Scotland.
(iv) Patrick, Earl of March
Patrick, Earl of March claimed the Scottish throne through his great-grandmother, Ada, the illegitimate daughter of King William the Lion of Scotland.
(v) William de Vesci
William de Vesci's claim to the Scottish throne was through his grandmother Marjory, the daughter of William the Lion.
(vi) Patrick Galythly
Patrick Galythly was the son of Henry Galythly, the son of William king of Scots. The claim was dismissed because his father was an illegitimate child.
(vii) Nicolas de Soulis
Nicolas de Soulis claimed to be the grandson of Marjory, daughter of Allexander II.
(viii) Roger de Mandeville
The claim of Roger de Mandeville was through an illegitimate daughter of William the Lion called Aufrica who married William de Say in Ulster.
(ix) John Comyn Lord of Badenoch
John Comyn Lord of Badenoch claimed to be a descendant of Donand Bane.
(x) Eric King of Norway
Eric King of Norway, the father of Margaret put in a claim to the Scottish throne as hier to his daughter but with little hope of success.
See the timeline below or this graphical version for more detailed information.
Event Participants and Locations
Early Middle Ages
High Middle Ages
Last Middle Ages
Early Modern Period
Event Participants and Locations