16 November is the Feast of the Patronage of Our Lady in the Roman Catholic communion and in honour of the Virgin's feast day, I would like to briefly profile the queens of England and Scotland who shared her name.
Marie de Coucy was the second wife of King Alexander II of Scotland. The daughter of a French lord, when her husband died of a fever in the Hebrides in 1249, Marie moved swiftly to ensure the succession of their seven year-old son, Alexander III. The boy, who went on to be one of medieval Scotland's greatest kings, was crowned at Scone at the height of summer. With the kingdom properly established under her son, Marie was able to remarry to a fellow Frenchman, to undertake pilgrimages to the great shrine of Saint Thomas Becket in Kent and to split her time between France and Scotland. She died in her native country in 1285, in her late sixties. Her death spared her from enduring the death of her son, who was killed in a riding accident a year later.