The House Of Dunkeld
Margaret 'the Maid of Norway'
On the death of Alexander III, his only surviving descendant and the recognised heiress to Scotland was Margaret, known as the Maid of Norway. She was the daughter of Erik II of Norway and Alexander's daughter, Margaret of Scotland. Margaret had been born at Tonsberg, Norway on 9th April, 1283, her mother had died in childbirth.
Guardians were appointed to govern the Kingdom during the young Margaret's minority. There were many among the unruly Scots nobility who considered they had plausible claims to the throne themselves, and disquieted at the thought of sending his young daughter to a land rent by dissension, King Eric of Norway solicited the protection of Scotland's neighbour and his daughter's great-uncle, the powerful and covetous Edward I of England.
The King of England proposed an advantageous marriage between Scotland's heiress and his son and heir, Edward, Prince of Wales, which would effectively place Scotland under English control. By the terms of the treaty of Birgham in 1290 the marriage proposal was accepted by the Scots nobles on the premise that Edward recognised the independence of the Scottish nation.
The English King sent a ship to collect his great-niece. The young Queen Margaret sailed to take up her position as Queen of Scotland in September, 1290, but was fated never to arrive in her new kingdom. Tempestuous Autumnal gales buffeted Margaret's ship, and she fell sick and died in the Orkney Islands. Margaret was the last of the house of Dunkeld and her death left the Scottish succession disputed by thirteen claimants, which lead directly to the first Scottish War of Independence and the accession of John Balliol as King of Scotland.
A year after the death of Margret's father, Erik II of Norway, in 1300, an imposter claiming to be Margaret appeared in Bergen, Norway. Regardless of the fact that Erik II himself had identified his daughter's body, she acquired the support of the citizens of Bergen and some of the clergy. Both she and her husband were later convicted of fraud. The 'False Margareth' as she came to be known, was burned at the stake in 1301.