Alexander II, King of Scots

Is your surname mac Uilliam?

Research the mac Uilliam family

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Alaxandair "The Peaceful" mac Uilliam, II

Also Known As: "King Alexander II of Scotland", "Alexander Atholl II", "The Peaceful", "Alaxandair mac Uilliam", "Alasdair mac Uilliam", "8228"
Birthplace: Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland (United Kingdom)
Death: July 08, 1249 (50)
Isle of Kerrera, Inner Hebrides, Bay of Oban, Argyll and Bute, Scotland, United Kingdom
Place of Burial: Melrose Abbey, Melrose, Roxburghshire, Scotland
Immediate Family:

Son of William "The Lion", King of Scots and Ermengarde de Beaumont, Queen of Scotland
Husband of Joan of England, Queen Consort of Scotland and Marie de Coucy
Ex-partner of Name Not Known
Father of Marjorie and Alexander III, King of the Scots
Brother of Margaret, Princess of Scotland; Isabella nic Uilliam, Princess of Scotland and Marjorie nic Uilliam, Princess of Scotland
Half brother of Robert of London; Marjory; Matilda; Aufrica de Say; ... nic Uilliam and 4 others

Occupation: King of Scotland (1214 - 1249), King of Scots
Managed by: James Fred Patin, Jr.
Last Updated:

About Alexander II, King of Scots

Alexander II of Scotland

Alexander II (Mediaeval Gaelic: Alaxandair mac Uilliam; Modern Gaelic: Alasdair mac Uilleim) (24 August 1198 - 6 July 1249) was King of Scots from 1214 to his death.

He was born at Haddington, East Lothian, the only son of the Scottish king William the Lion and Ermengarde of Beaumont. He spent time in England (John of England knighted him at Clerkenwell Priory in 1213) before succeeding to the kingdom on the death of his father on 4 December 1214, being crowned at Scone on 6 December the same year.

King of Scotland

In 1215, the year after his accession, the clans Meic Uilleim and MacHeths, inveterate enemies of the Scottish crown, broke into revolt; but loyalist forces speedily quelled the insurrection.

In the same year Alexander joined the English barons in their struggle against John of England, and led an army into the Kingdom of England in support of their cause. This action led to the sacking of Berwick as John's forces ravaged the north.

The Scottish forces reached the south coast of England at the port of Dover where in September 1216, Alexander paid homage to the pretender Prince Louis of France for his lands in England, chosen by the barons to replace King John. But John having died, the Pope and the English aristocracy changed their allegiance to his nine-year-old son, Henry, forcing the French and the Scottish armies to return home. Shortly after taking London, the Scottish army returned to Scotland.

Peace between Henry III, the French prince and Alexander followed on 12 September 1217 with the treaty of Kingston. Diplomacy further strengthened the reconciliation by the marriage of Alexander to Henry's sister Joan of England on 18 June or 25 June 1221.

The next year marked the subjection of the hitherto semi-independent district of Argyll. Royal forces crushed a revolt in Galloway in 1235 without difficulty; nor did an invasion attempted soon afterwards by its exiled leaders meet with success. Soon afterwards a claim for homage from Henry of England drew forth from Alexander a counter-claim to the northern English counties. The two kingdoms, however, settled this dispute by a compromise in 1237. This was the Treaty of York which defined the boundary between the two kingdoms as running between the Solway Firth (in the west) and the mouth of the River Tweed (in the east).

Joan died in March, 1238 in Essex, and in the following year, 1239, Alexander remarried. His second wife was Marie de Coucy. The marriage took place on 15 May 1239, and produced one son, the future Alexander III, born in 1241.

A threat of invasion by Henry in 1243 for a time interrupted the friendly relations between the two countries; but the prompt action of Alexander in anticipating his attack, and the disinclination of the English barons for war, compelled him to make peace next year at Newcastle. Alexander now turned his attention to securing the Western Isles, which still owed a nominal allegiance to Norway. He successively attempted negotiations and purchase, but without success.

Physical Appearance

The English chronicler Matthew Paris in his Chronica Majora described Alexander as red-haired:

"[King John] taunted King Alexander, and because he was red-headed, sent word to him, saying, 'so shall we hunt the red fox-cub from his lairs."[1]


Alexander attempted to persuade Ewen, the son of Duncan, Lord of Argyll, to sever his allegiance to Haakon IV of Norway. When Ewen rejected these attempts, Alexander sailed forth to compel him, but on the way he suffered a fever at the Isle of Kerrera in the Inner Hebrides. He died there in 1249 and was buried at Melrose Abbey, Roxburghshire. His only legitimate child and son, by his second wife, Alexander III succeeded him as King of Scots. He had a bastard daughter, Marjorie, who married Sir Alan Durward, Justiciar of Scotia (he died 1275), and had issue.[2]


1. Joan of England, (22 July 1210 – 4 March 1238), was the eldest legitimate daughter and third child of John of England and Isabella of Angoulême. She and Alexander II married on 21 June 1221, at York Minster. Alexander was 23. Joan was 11. They had no children. Joan died in Essex in 1238, and was buried at Tarant Crawford Abbey in Dorset.

2. Marie de Coucy, who became mother of Alexander III of Scotland


  • Tewkesbury Annals
  • Worcester Annals
  • Rotuli Litterarum Patencium
  • Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). "Alexander II (king of Scotland)". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  • This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  • ^ Scottish annals from English chroniclers A.D.500 to 1286, Alan Orr Anderson, Paul Watkins, 1991.
  • ^
  • ^ "Tranter Fist Edition Books, Publication Timeline"


ALEXANDER of Scotland, son of WILLIAM I "the Lion" King of Scotland & his wife Ermengarde de Beaumont (Haddington, East Lothian 24 Aug 1198-Isle of Kerrara, Bay of Ohan, near the Sound of Mull 8 Jul 1249[611], bur Melrose Abbey, Roxburghshire[612]). The Chronicle of Melrose records the birth "the day of St Bartholomew the Apostle" in 1198 of "Alexander the son of William king of the Scots"[613]. He succeeded his father in 1214 as ALEXANDER II King of Scotland, crowned 6 Dec 1214 at Scone Abbey, Perthshire. The Annals of Tewkesbury record the death in 1250 of “Alexander rex Scotiæ”[614]. The Chronicle of the Picts and Scots dated 1280 records that "Alexandre" reigned for 37 years, died "a Kenbray en Orkany", and was buried "a Melros"[615].

Betrothed (1200) to MARIE de France, daughter of PHILIPPE II "Auguste" King of France & his third wife Agnes von Andechs-Merano (after 1197-15 Aug 1238, bur Louvain, église collégiale de Saint Pierre). The primary source which confirms her betrothal has not yet been identified.

m firstly (contract 15 Jun 1220, York Minster 19 Jun 1221) JOAN of England, daughter of JOHN King of England & his wife Isabelle Ctss d'Angoulême (22 Jul 1210-Havering-atte-Bower, Essex 4 Mar 1238, bur Tarrant Crawford Abbey, Dorset[616]). Matthew Paris records her marriage, specifying that she was the sister of King Henry III[617]. The Annals of Dunstable record that “regi Scotiæ” married “rege…sororem suam” in 1221, specifying that she was eleven years old at the time and had previously been betrothed to “Hugoni Brun”[618]. The marriage contract between “Alexando...Regi Scotiæ” and “Rex...Johannam primogenitam sororem nostram” is dated 15 Jun 1220[619]. The Annales Londonienses record the death in 1238 of "Johanna regina regis Scotiæ, soror regis Anglorum" while on a visit to her brother in England and her burial "IV Non Mar"[620]. The Annals of Tewkesbury record the death “apud Haveringes III Non Mar” of “regina Scotiæ soror regis Angliæ” and her burial “apud Tarentune monialium”[621].

m secondly (Roxburgh 15 May 1239[622]%29 as her first husband, MARIE de Coucy, daughter of ENGUERRAND [III] Seigneur de Coucy & third his wife Marie de Montmirail (-[1284/85], bur Newbottle, Scotland). She is named by Matthew Paris, who also names her father when he records her marriage[623]. The Chronicle of Alberic de Trois-Fontaines records the marriage in 1239 of "Ingelrannus de Coci…filiam suam" and "regi Scotie Alexandro"[624]. The Liber Pluscardensis records the marriage at Roxburgh in 1239 of "rex Alexander Scociæ" and "filiam domini de Coussy Mariam"[625]. She returned to France 29 Sep 1251 after her husband's death[626], and married secondly (before 6 Jun 1257) as his second wife, Jean de Brienne "d'Acre". King Henry III granted free passage to “Johanni filio regis Jerusalem, regni Franciæ consorti vestræ reginæ Scotiæ” by charter dated 6 Jun 1257[627]. John of Fordun’s Scotichronicon (Continuator) records that "Maria mater regis Alexandri…uxor Johannis de Aconia" fled her husband for Scotland in 1265[628]. John of Fordun’s Scotichronicon (Continuator) records the death of "Maria mater Alexandri tertii regis Scotiæ in partibus transmarinis", dated to [1284/85] from the context[629].

Mistress (1): ---. The name of Alexander's mistress is not known.

King Alexander II & his second wife had one child:


Curator's Note: Some sources say that Alexander II was in a liason with Isabella of Atholl and had one or more children by her, including daughters Marjorie and Dernell. More information and documentation is needed for this.



Alan had married Marjory, a bastard daughter of King Alexander II, by whom he had three children, Ermengarde (who married William de Soules, the royal butler), Anna (who married Colbán, Mormaer of Fife), and another daughter whose name is not known (she married John Bisset). Alan also had at least one bastard son, Thomas Durward. None of these children carried on their father's illustrious political career.

As for Sir Alan Durward, he was a prominent individual in his day. He held the office of Usher of the King of Scots, and also served as Justiciar of Scotland, 1243–1251x1252, 1255. His wife was Marjory, the illegitimate daughter of Alexander II, King of Scots. In 1255 he was appointed one of the guardians of King Alexander III of Scotland during the king’s minority.



The book, 'Scotland's Story'

The book, 'Scotland, A Concise History'

(plus many more)

The line ended with Alexander III when he rode his horse over a cliff on a dark December night in 1286.

Alexander III was predeceased by his heirs and with his death the succession was cast into dispute. Thirteen claimants stepped forward to declare their right to the throne, all having some relation to the line of Irving. John Balliol, the primary claimant, was great-great-great grandson of David I, while his only serious rival was Robert the Bruce, the great great-great-great grandson of David I. Edward 'Longshanks' of England chose Balliol to be King of Scotland, who had to promise subservience to London. When Balliol could no longer tolerate following the direction of the English he was deposed and imprisoned in London. Now only Balliol's nephew, John 'Red' Comyn, stood between Robert the Bruce and the throne. These two agreed to meet at the Church of the Grey Friers in 1306 to resolve their dispute. That discussion ended when, in the heat of argument, Robert put a dagger through Comyn's heart.

Alexander II granted Urquhart to his Hostarius (usher or door-ward), Thomas de Lundin. On de Lundin's death a few years later it passed to his son Alan Durward.[13] It is considered likely that the original castle was built soon after this time, centred on the motte at the south-west of the site.[12] In 1275, after Alan's death, the king granted Urquhart to John II Comyn, Lord of Badenoch.[13]

view all 24

Alexander II, King of Scots's Timeline

August 24, 1198
Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland (United Kingdom)
December 4, 1214
- July 8, 1249
Age 16
Scotland (United Kingdom)
September 4, 1241
Roxburgh, Roxburghshire, Scotland
July 8, 1249
Age 50
Isle of Kerrera, Inner Hebrides, Bay of Oban, Argyll and Bute, Scotland, United Kingdom
Age 50
Age 50
Age 50
Age 50
Melrose Abbey, Melrose, Roxburghshire, Scotland