On 13 July 1249, less than a week after the death of his father, a boy of almost eight years old was crowned king of Scots as Alexander III. Alan Durward, probably accompanied by others who had been with Alexander II in Argyll, deserted the corpse of his dead lord and sped east to be at the inauguration of the new king. The young king was knighted and crowned with full ceremony in an atmosphere of hastily-restored peace — a peace that was kept during the next eighteen months. Alexander probably remained in the household of his mother, Queen Marie, while royal government was in the hands of a council of lords and prelates. However, beneath this harmony lurked rivalry, insecurity and faction. For the first time in living memory Scotland lacked an adult ruler. During 1250 and 1251 anxiety and ambition combined to create new alliances and intensify old rivalries and centred on the figures of Alan Durward and Walter Comyn.
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