Her father was King Malcolm III, surnamed 'Canmore'. which translates from Gaelic as ' big head.' was born in 1031, he was the eldest son of the ill-fated King Duncan. When his father was killed in battle at Bothganowan by Macbeth, who then usurped Scotland's throne, Malcolm escaped south and took refuge at the court of the English King Hardicanute.
He remained an exile in England until in 1053. Hardicanute's successor, the devout Saxon king Edward the Confessor, agreed to render assistance to regain Malcolm's lost throne. Malcolm marched into Scotland with Siward, Earl of Northumbria. He became King after slaying Macbeth at Lumphanan in Mar and was crowned at Scone Abbey on 25th April, 1058.
The ancient Saxon House of Wessex had been displaced by the Norman invader William the Conqueror. Margaret Atheling, a dispossessed princess of the royal Saxon line, arrived in Scotland in 1068, where she sought refuge with her brother, Edgar Atheling.
Margaret was said to be a beautiful and highly pious woman and Malcolm was besotted by her. Although preferring a religious life, she eventually consented to become the wife of the King of Scots.
Disputes concerning the boundaries of Cumbria and Lothian arose with the new King of England, the formidable William the Conqueror. The Conqueror, not a man to do things by halves, marched north to the Tay, where his large army was met by a great English fleet.
Malcolm responded with alacrity, he agreed to meet William for talks at Abernethy. he then paid homage to the English King and agreed to surrender his eldest son by his first marriage, Duncan, as security for his future obedience.
The new Queen of Scots held considerable influence with her indulgent husband. She was highly religious and humane and exceedingly generous to the poor. She frequently washed the feet of beggars and performed many similar acts of charity for which she gained the lasting respect of her subjects.
The Queen attempted to get women admitted into places of worship, a curious prohibition that then existed in the Gaelic Church. She also campaigned to forbid men to marry their step mothers.
Margaret is said to have secured the observance of the Sabbath by banning all work on Sundays and re-introduced the practice of saying grace after meals to Scotland.
The Conqueror's successor, William Rufus, after driving the Scots north of the Solway, invited their King for talks. On the Scottish King's arrival at Gloucester, William delivered a stinging snub to Malcolm by refusing to receive him. Enraged at the insult to his dignity, Malcolm returned to Scotland and retaliated by riding with an army into Northumbria.
On 13th November, 1093, Malcolm was killed at the The Battle of Alnwick, his eldest son by Margaret, Edward, was also slain. The throne of Scotland was seized by Malcolm's brother Donald Bane.
The disastrous news was carried to Margaret at Edinburgh Castle, the Queen was already mortally ill and the castle was under siege by her brother-in-law. She died three days later and was buried at Dunfermline Abbey. Her descendant, King Alexander II, petitioned Pope Innocent IV to canonize his devout ancestress. By Papal Bull of 1249 she was formally declared a saint in the Catholic church.
On 19th June, 1250, her body and that of her spouse, Malcolm III, were exhumed and removed to a magnificent shrine. 19th June was thereafter celebrated in Scotland as the feast of St. Margaret. Her remains, along with those of her husband, were not allowed to rest in peace however. In 1560 St. Margaret's shrine was desecrated by Scots Calvinist iconoclasts. Mary, Queen of Scots had St. Margaret's head removed as a reliquary to Edinburgh Castle, as she hoped to call on the assistance of the saint in childbirth.
In 1597 Margaret's earthly peregrinations continued, when her head was taken home by a private gentleman, it then embarked upon further journeyings, arriving in Antwerp and finally reaching the Scot's College at Douai, France. It disappeared completely during the French Revolution. Phillip II of Spain had the remains of Margaret and Malcolm Canmore translated to a shrine at El Escorial, seat of the Catholic Kings of Spain.
The Family of Malcolm IIIMalcolm was married firstly to Ingeborg of Halland, widow or daughter of the Earl of Orkney, it remains unsure which. The marriage produced three sons:-
(1) DUNCAN, KING OF SCOTS d. 1094
(2) Donald d. 1086
(3) Malcolm d. after 1094
After the death of Ingeborg, he took as his second wife Margaret, the niece of Edward the Confessor, of the Atheling Royal House. They had issue:-
(1) Edward killed 1093
(2) EDMUND, KING OF SCOTS d. 1097
(3) Ethelred, Abbot of Dunkeld
(4) EDGAR, KING OF SCOTS d. 1107
(5) ALEXANDER, KING OF SCOTS d.1124
(6) DAVID I, KING OF SCOTS d. 1153
(7) Edith of Scotland d. 1118 m. Henry I of England
(8) Mary of Scotland m. Eustace, Count of Boulogne
Edith of Scotland
Edith (Matilda) was born around 1080 in Dunfermline, the daughter of Malcolm III of Scotland and Saint Margaret. She was christened (baptised) Edith, and Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy, stood as godfather at the ceremony. The English queen Matilda of Flanders was also present at the baptismal font and served as her godmother.
Baby Matilda pulled at Queen Matilda's headdress, which was seen as an omen that the younger Matilda would be queen one day.
The Life of St Margaret, Queen of Scotland was later written for Matilda possibly by Turgot of Durham. It refers to Matilda's childhood and her relationship with her mother. In it, Margaret is described as a strict but loving mother. She did not spare the rod when it came to raising her children in virtue, which the author presupposed was the reason for the good behaviour Matilda and her siblings displayed, and Margaret also stressed the importance of piety.
When she was about six years old, Matilda of Scotland (or Edith as she was then probably still called) and her sister Mary were sent to Romsey Abbey, near Southampton, where their aunt Cristina was abbess. During her stay at Romsey and, some time before 1093, at Wilton Abbey, both institutions known for learning, the Scottish princess was much sought-after as a bride; refusing proposals from William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey, and Alan Rufus, Lord of Richmond.
Hériman of Tournai claimed that William Rufus considered marrying her. Her education went beyond the standard feminine pursuits. This was not surprising as her mother was a great lover of books. Her daughters learned English, French, and some Latin, and were sufficiently literate to read St. Augustine and the Bible.
In 1093, her parents betrothed her to Alan Rufus, Lord of Richmond, one of her numerous suitors. However, before the marriage took place, her father entered into a dispute with William Rufus. In response, he marauded the English king's lands where he was surprised by Robert de Mowbray, Earl of Northumbria and killed along with his son, Edward. Upon hearing of her husband and son's death, Margaret, already ill, died on November 16. Edith was now an orphan.
She was abandoned by her betrothed who ran off with a daughter of Harold Godwinson, Gunhild of Wessex. However, he died before they could be married.
She had left the monastery by 1093, when Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote to the Bishop of Salisbury ordering that the daughter of the King of Scotland be returned to the monastery that she had left. She did not return to Wilton and until 1100, is largely unaccounted for in chronicles.
After the mysterious death of William II in August 1100, his brother, Henry, immediately seized the royal treasury and crown. His next task was to marry and Henry's choice was Matilda
. Because Matilda had spent most of her life in a convent, there was some controversy over whether she was a nun and thus canonically ineligible for marriage. Henry sought permission for the marriage from Archbishop Anselm, who returned to England in September 1100 after a long exile. Professing himself unwilling to decide so weighty a matter on his own, Anselm called a council of bishops in order to determine the canonical legality of the proposed marriage.
Matilda testified that she had never taken holy vows, insisting that her parents had sent her and her sister to England for educational purposes, and her aunt Cristina had veiled her to protect her "from the lust of the Normans." Matilda claimed she had pulled the veil off and stamped on it, and her aunt beat and scolded her for this act. The council concluded that Matilda was not a nun, never had been and her parents had not intended that she become one, giving their permission for the marriage.
Matilda and Henry seem to have known one another for some time before their marriage — William of Malmesbury states that Henry had "long been attached" to her, and Orderic Vitalis says that Henry had "long adored" her character. It is possible that Matilda had spent some time at William Rufus's court and that the pair had met there. It is also possible Henry was introduced to his bride by his teacher Bishop Osmund. Whatever the case, it is clear that the two at least knew each other prior to their wedding. Additionally, the chronicler William of Malmesbury suggests that the new king loved his bride.
Matilda and Henry had issue
- Euphemia (July/August 1101), died young
- Matilda of England (c. February 1102 – 10 September 1167), Holy Roman Empress, Countess consort of Anjou, called Lady of the English great grandmother
- William Adelin, (5 August 1103 – 25 November 1120), sometimes called Duke of Normandy, who married Matilda (d.1154), daughter of Fulk V, Count of Anjou.
- Elizabeth (August/September 1104), died young