Marie de Coucy was born around 1218 as the second daughter of Enguerrand, 3rd Baron de Coucy and Marie de Montmirel. She was wealthy and as a great-great-granddaughter of King Louis VI of France had considerable status.
She became the second wife of King Alexander II of Scotland in 1239. His first wife had been Joan of England, who had died at the age of 27 the year before. Alexander was 41, while Marie was 20. They married on Whit Sunday 1239 at Roxburgh. On 4 September 1241 she gave birth to the future Alexander III and she also possibly had a short-lived daughter named Ermengarde. Her young son was soon part of marriage negotiations with England, and by 1244 he was betrothed to King Henry III’s daughter Margaret.
Just four year later, Alexander fell ill, and he even obtained a dispensation from the pope, allowing him not to eat fish during Lent, as it made him unwell. However, his health did not improve, and he died on 8 July 1249. Marie made sure to take her son immediately to Scone to have him crowned. Marie went to France the following year, and she would spend the rest of her life, dividing her time between Scotland and France. She attended her son’s wedding to Margaret in 1252 where she, “proceeded exceedingly loftily, with a magnificent and numerous retinue”, and was accompanied, “by many nobles…not of Scotland only but also of France.”
During one of her visits to France, she married Jean de Brienne, who bore the title “King of Acre”, which was an empty title. Henry III was apparently not amused by this marriage because he feared an increased French influence in Scotland. Marie and Jean needed safe-conduct from Henry, and he insisted they must swear not to harm him or his kingdom as soon as they arrived in Dover. Marie and Jean may have had a daughter named Blanche.
Marie died in the summer of 1285, and she was buried at Newbattle where a tomb had already been prepared for her. 1
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