Malcolm III and Saint Margaret

Malcolm III was known as Máel Coluim mac Donnchada in the Gaelic in his day. 

            Malcolm was born on March 26, 1031 in Scotland.  He was the eldest son of Duncan I.  Duncan became king after the death of his grandfather Malcolm II, in 1034.  Duncan was killed by Macbeth on August 15, 1040.  Malcolm and his brother, Donalbane {Donald}, were sent away shortly after their father’s death for safety reasons.  There is debate about where the brothers were sent, but England seems to be the most likely conclusion.    

Reportedly Malcolm killed Macbeth and his son in 1057.  Malcolm then succeeded as king of Scotland, and was inaugurated on April 25, 1058.   Malcolm married a widow, Ingibiorg, and the couple had a three sons, including the future King Duncan II.  Sometime before 1070, Ingibiorg died.

In 1068, Malcolm III granted exile to a group of English exiles.  The group returned in 1070 after possibly becoming shipwrecked.  Included in this group were Edgar Ætheling, the king exiled British king, and his sister, Margaret. Before the end of the year, Malcolm and Margaret married. The couple would have eight children.

“Margaret attended to charitable works, and personally served orphans and the poor every day before she ate. She rose at midnight to attend church services every night. She was known for her work for religious reform. She was considered to be an exemplar of the “just ruler”, and also influenced her husband and children to be just and holy rulers. A cave, St. Margaret’s Cave, on the banks of the Tower Burn in Dunfermline was used by the queen as a place of devotion and prayer.”   

While marching north, Malcolm was ambushed and killed. Malcolm died November 13, 1093 in Alnwick, Northumberland, England.   The conflict became known as the Battle of Alnwick.  Margaret and Malcolm’s oldest son, Edward was also killed.  Upon hearing of her husband and son’s death, Margaret mourned herself to death.  She died nine days after her husband and son.  Malcolm and Margaret are now buried at Dumfermline Abbey.

Malcolm reigned for 35 years, which was considered a long reign at that time.

Malcolm’s wife, Margaret, was later beatified.  She is Scotland’s only royal saint.  The chapel at Edinburgh Castle is named St. Margaret’s Chapel in her honor.

Malcolm III grandson, Aoidh, took the surname MacEth.  In the thirteenth century, this surname became MacKay.  In the sixteenth century, the variant of McKie was used.  This would later become McKee.

St. Margaret Chapel

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