After being chosen to be King of Scots in 1292, John Balliol had a tough job on his hands. He had not been raised for kingship, the nobility were divided and, most worryingly of all, Edward I of England had established himself as feudal lord of Scotland and was determined to make this clear to all concerned. Could Balliol restore Scotland's prosperity and remain independent from England or would the task be too big for him to face?
A largely forgotten figure in Scottish history, Margaret the Maid of Norway's "reign" would be a pivotal turning point in Scottish history. After Alexander III died in accident in 1286 without an heir, his only descendent was Margaret, his three year-old granddaughter who had never set foot in Scotland. A special group known as the Guardians of Scotland sought to preserve the peace of the kingdom for Margaret, but at the cost of involving King Edward I of England, who would prove to be something of an ogre in Scottish history, starting by presiding over "The Great Cause' to determine the future of the Scottish succession. Would Edward take this chance to snatch the kingdom? Would the Guardians preserve the peace? Would Margaret make it to Scotland?
Incredibly, Ali is control! Ali guides Graham through his university dissertation on Edward I and how his Crusade shaped his campaigns in Wales and the building of his magnificent Welsh castles. Also featuring our first ever interview with Professor Michael Prestwich who literally wrote the book on Edward!
Alexander III was only just approaching 8 years when his father died in 1249, resulting in a divisive minority and the king of England, Henry III, playing an increasingly strong role in Scottish affairs. As king, Alexander would need to restore order among his barons, finish his father's work in subduing the Western Isles and assert his independence against Henry III and (far more ominously) the looming black cloud on the horizon of Scottish history that is Edward I. A tough job, but was Alexander III up to the task and worthy of the Rex Factor?
(Parental Guidance - there may be some juicy scandal!)
Alexander II seems to have been something of a man on mission, determined to remove all the grey areas in Scotland by imposing his authority across the whole country. Previously rebellious or non-Scottish areas like Moray, Caithness and Galloway were firmly on the royal radar while Norway would now have to worry about their control over the Western Isles. Throw in an invasion of England after King John repudiated Magna Carta and you have a very busy reign, but has Alexander II bit off more than he can chew?
While Ali was off sailing, Graham was interviewed by Jen Crawford from Podbean's Podcasting Smarter podcast, talking about Rex Factor, how the show is put together, crowdfunding and, of course, remembering to #RememberAed.
William the Lion's life and reign was defined when as a teenager in 1157 he had the earldom of Northumbria taken away by Henry II. From then on, it was his life's ambition to get it back but he had the mighty Plantagenets standing in his way. With trouble brewing in Galloway, Moray and Caithness, it would not be an easy task, but with a name like William the Lion, could it be possible?
After the successful reign of David ended in 1153 with Scotland in possession of most of northern England, Scotland was at the peak of its medieval powers. Unfortunately, the new king was a 12 year-old boy faced with numerous regional threats and an England reunited under the rule of Henry II, a king even more powerful than his Norman predecessors. Could Malcolm see off the challenges of Gaelic warlords, a Plantagenet powerhouse and a distinctly unimpressive epithet?
David came to the throne in 1124 as the last of Malcolm III and Saint Margaret's six sons following a period of internal fighting and short reigns. However, unlike his brothers, David had luck on his side. He won favour and wealth in England as a protege of Henry I and then took advantage of the Anarchy in England to pursue Scottish interests in Cumbria and Northumbria, whilst also introducing far-ranging reforms. But how successful would he be in his efforts, would he be too Norman for Scottish tastes and will he get the Rex Factor?
In our second premium podcast, we review the life and times of the medieval knight and courtier, William (the) Marshal. William had an incredible career at the heart of the Plantagenet courts of Henry II, Richard the Lionheart and, in particular, King John, being a central figure in the Barons Wars, the creation of Magna Carta and seeing off a French invasion. Described as "the greatest knight" and famed for his loyalty, he went from a young man of limited prospects to a friend of kings and the saviour of the kingdom. William's story involves adventure, capture and charmingly self-deprecating anecdotes as well as one of the most important (though often forgotten) battles in English history. This bumper edition two hour episode is not to be missed!