|Saint Margaret of Scotland|
|Photo of window depicting St. Margaret in St. Margaret's Chapel, Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland|
Photo taken by Kjetil Bjørnsrud in 2005 was found at Wikimedia Commons and used under GFDL (Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic).
In 1057, when Margaret was about 12 years old, she moved back to England with her parents and siblings where her father died shortly after their arrival. The family remained there, however, and lived under the protection of Margaret's great-uncle, King Edward the Confessor.
King Edward died in 1066. King Harold II briefly succeeded him before being killed on October 14, 1066 in the Battle of Hastings while fighting the army of William, Duke of Normandy. Margaret's brother, Edgar Aetheling, was proclaimed king by the Witenagemot, but he was never crowned. William ultimately prevailed and was crowned King William I of England on December 25, 1066.
Now that William was king, Margaret, her mother, her sister and her brother feared for their safety. They left England in 1068 and were probably trying to sail to Hungary when the boat they were on was pushed off course by a storm. As a result, they ended up landing in Scotland.
The king of Scotland was Malcolm III, also known as Malcolm Canmore. Malcolm was a widower, and he apparently became quite taken with Margaret. He and Margaret were married in about 1070, and Margaret became queen of Scotland. Margaret was educated and very religious, and Malcolm was by all accounts very devoted to her.
Her holiness and wisdom had an impact on Malcolm, causing him to be a better ruler. Malcolm regarded his wife with holy reverence, and with most devoted love followed her advice, and guided by her he became not only more religious and conscientious but more civilized and kinglike. The king's devotion to her and her influence over him were almost unbounded. He never refused or grudged her anything, nor showed the least displeasure when she took money out of his treasury for her charities. Although he could not read, he loved her books for her sake, handling them with affectionate reverence and kissing them. Sometimes he would take away one of her favorite volumes and send for a goldsmith to ornament it with gold and gems. When this was done, he would restore it to the queen as a proof of his devotion. (http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nwa/margaret.html)Margaret frequently washed the feet of the poor, fed poor children herself, gave alms, and provided clothing and housing to those in need and did other works of charity. She urged religious reforms, and she herself kept to a very stringent regimen of fasting, praying, liturgy and penance. One of her books, a book of the Gospels, is in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England. A facsimile of it can be viewed here.
|An illustration from St. Margaret's Book of Gospels found at Archive.org|
P.S. Margaret's husband Malcolm was the son of King Duncan I of Scotland. King Duncan is featured in Shakespeare's play Macbeth, in which Macbeth kills Duncan and takes his place on the throne of Scotland. What fun to find a saint as well as a person featured as a character in one of Shakespeare's plays in the family tree. Isn't genealogy wonderful?