Alexander II was the son of William the Lion and Ermengarde of Beaumont. He was born at Haddington, East Lothian, in 1198, and succeeded to the kingdom on the death of his father on 4 December 1214.
The year after his accession Alexander joined the English barons in their struggle against John I of England, and led an army into the Kingdom of England in support of their cause; but after John’s death, on the conclusion of peace between his youthful son Henry III of England and the French prince Louis VIII of France, the Scottish king joined in the pacification. Diplomacy further strengthened the reconciliation by the marriage of Alexander to Henry’s sister Joan of England on June 18 or June 25, 1221.
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 May 15, 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. Alexander next attempted to dissuade Ewen, the son of Duncan, Lord of Argyll, to sever his allegiance to Haakon IV of Norway. Ewen rejected these attempts, and Alexander sailed forth to compel him.
But on the way he suffered a fever at the Isle of Kerrera in the Inner Hebrides, and died there in 1249. He was buried at Melrose Abbey, Roxburghshire. His son Alexander III succeeded him as King of Scots.