King Alexander III of Scotland, King Henry III of England, Margaret of England, Margaret of Scotland, Margaret the Maid of Norway, Queen of Norway
Margaret of Scotland (February 28, 1261 – April 9, 1283) was Queen of Norway as the wife of King Eric II. She is sometimes known as the Maid of Scotland to distinguish her from her daughter, Margaret, Maid of Norway, who succeeded to the throne of Scotland.
Margaret was born on February 28, 1261 at Windsor Castle. She was the firstborn child of King Alexander III of Scotland and Margaret of England, Alexander’s first wife.
Margaret of England was the second child of King Henry III of England and his wife, Eleanor of Provence.
A committee of five earls, four bishops, and four barons were tasked with ensuring that the King’s firstborn child was brought safely to Scotland. She was followed by two brothers, Alexander and David. Queen Margaret (of England) died in 1275, but letters written by the younger Margaret point to an affectionate relationship with her uncle King Edward I of England.
Margaret stayed unmarried until the age of 20, which is remarkably long for a medieval princess. She was finally betrothed to King Eric II of Norway, in 1281. The intent was to ease the tensions that developed between Norway and Scotland in the previous decades.
King Eric II of Norway (1268 – July 15, 1299) was the eldest surviving son of King Magnus VI “the Lawmender” of Norway, and his wife, Ingeborg of Denmark who in turn was a daughter of King Eric IV of Denmark and Jutta of Saxony.
According to chroniclers, Margaret was against the match, but her father insisted. The Scottish crown gave her and Eric the estates of Rothiemay in Banffshire, Belhelvie in Aberdeenshire, Bathgate in West Lothian, and Ratho in Midlothian as her dowry.
The treaty arranging the marriage specified that Margaret and her children would succeed to the throne of Scotland if King Alexander III died leaving no legitimate sons and if no legitimate son of his left legitimate children.
Margaret sailed into the port of Bergen in the early morning of August 15. For the 20 year old Margaret of Scotland her marriage to the 13-year-old King of Norway was celebrated two or three weeks later, making her Queen of Norway. She was crowned by Jon Raude, Archbishop of Nidaros, Christ Church, Bergen.
A cultured woman, Margaret probably found it difficult to adapt to married life with an adolescent. Scots reported that she tried to “cultivate” Eric by teaching him French and English, table manners, and fashion. Her mother-in-law, Ingeborg of Denmark, undermined her position as Queen and dominated the court.
Between March and April 9, 1283, Queen Margaret gave birth to her only child, Margaret, known as the Maid of Norway, in Tønsberg. Queen Margaret died during or shortly after childbirth, and was buried in Christ Church in Bergen.
As Margaret’s brothers both predeceased her father, her daughter succeeded to the Scottish throne in 1286. As she was never inaugurated, Margaret’s status as Queen of Scots is uncertain and has been debated by historians.
King Eric II of Norway went on to marry Isabel Bruce, sister of King Robert I of Scotland. Their marriage did not produce a surviving male heir, although it did produce a daughter, Ingebjørg Eiriksdatter of Norway, who married Valdemar Magnusson of Sweden, third son of King Magnus III of Sweden and Helvig of Holstein. He became Duke of Finland.
As King Eric II died July 15, 1299 without sons, he was succeeded by his brother, as Haakon V of Norway.