Malcolm II. The long lived Malcolm II – it is believed he was eighty or older when he died – was King of the Scots from 1005 to 1034. He survived invasion by King Canute and consolidated his position in northern Scotland through his daughter’s marriage to Sigurd of Orkney.
Duncan I. Duncan ruled Scotland for six years – from 1034 to 1040. His father Crinan was Abbot of Dunkeld. His mother Bethoc was Malcolm II’s daughter. He was born around the turn of the century (the exact year of his birth is not known). His lifespan was around half that of his grandfather Malcolm, for he died not of old age but in battle, killed by Macbeth – the next Scottish king.
Macbeth. Do not believe Shakespeare! The playwright took liberties with the life of this Scottish king whilst crafting his play, in the process creating a story which has survived centuries. Try an internet search on Macbeth and see what comes up – you are likely to find historical details far down the list... Having killed Duncan in battle (not whilst an invited guest in his castle as per Shakespeare) Macbeth ruled from 1040 to 1057. Macbeth did have a rightful claim to the throne as his mother Donada was Malcolm II’s second daughter. His rule was largely untroubled and he and his wife Gruoch – granddaughter of Kenneth III who ruled Scotland in the late tenth century - gave generously to the church. At the Battle of Lumphanan in 1057 Malcolm, son of Duncan I, killed Macbeth and thus eventually secured the Scottish throne.
Lulach. Macbeth had no children of his own but he did have a stepson – Lulach – who threw his cap in to the monarchy ring on the death of his stepfather. Lulach’s reign lasted less than a year – he like his stepfather was killed by Malcolm, a man determined to rule Scotland.
Malcolm III. Malcolm III – also known as Malcolm Canmore - ruled from 1058 to 1093. He had eight children by his second wife - Anglo-Saxon Margaret, who gave birth to future kings of Scotland. She influenced both culture and church – the latter through both patronage and example, for she led a devout life that influenced all those around her. In the thirteenth century she was granted the title Saint; should you have the chance to visit Edinburgh Castle do take the time to visit St Margaret’s Chapel. Malcolm Canmore made several incursions in to England, spurred by his desire to widen his empire and support for Margaret’s bother Edgar Atheling who tried and failed to gain the English throne. Malcolm and his heir, like Macbeth, died in battle - their deaths took place on English soil in Alnwick, Northumberland.
Donald Ban and Duncan II. Donald Ban was Malcolm III’s brother. Duncan II was son of Malcolm III by his first wife. Donald Ban had not appreciated his brother’s second wife and wanted to return Scogtland to the old Gaelic ways. He reigned from 1093 to 1097, apart from a brief blip in 1094 when Duncan II gained the Scottish throne due to strong support from England. Donald lost his throne to his nephew Edgar, son of Malcolm III.