Guest Author - Asha Sahni
Queen Margaret - Anglo-Saxon, born in Hungary in the eleventh century, brought up in the English court of her kinsman Edward the Confessor. A woman who lived through the turbulent events of 1066 in England. Margaretís brother Edgar ∆theling was elected king after Haroldís death in the Battle of Hastings, only to be ousted before he was crowned by William the Conqueror. Margaretís mother fled England with her family following the Norman Conquest and it is believed Margaret married her Scottish King in 1070. Queen Margaret adopted and attempted to anglicise her new nation, dying in 1093 in Edinburgh Castle, where to this day a chapel bears her name.
Queen Margaret, second wife of Malcolm III of Scotland, mother to three young boys who were not her own. Birth mother to eight children with Malcolm, three of whom Ė Edgar, Alexander and David Ė would become kings of Scotland. Mother to a daughter who married King Henry I, thus helping to cement ties between Scotland and England.
Queen Margaret, a woman who brought calm and some would say a civilising force to bear on her husband, often known as Malcolm Canmore. A husband who was immortalised in Shakespeareís Macbeth (which dances between historical fact and fiction), who was responsible for eventually defeating Macbeth and his son Lulach in order to gain the Scottish throne. A man who had spent time in England before his kingship gathering support for his cause.
Queen Margaret, a woman known for her piety, a trait she passed on to her sons. She worked tirelessly to reform the Scottish church, bringing with her a strong faith and clear beliefs about what needed to be done to help get Scotlandís church in order, addressing issues which she saw as going against her faith, such as marriage between close relatives. She gave to the poor, established churches and led a deeply devout life. In Dunfermline, in summertime, you can visit St Margaretís Cave Ė a place it is believed she visited regularly to pray.
Margaret was canonised by the church in 1251, gaining sainthood. She is remembered each year on 16 November, the day she died. Three days earlier, on 13 November 1093, her husband Malcolm and son Edward had died at the Battle of Alnwick in Northumberland.
I have always enjoyed reading good quality, well researched historical fiction. If you find fiction a good way to improve your knowledge of history see if you can get hold of a copy of Nigel Tranterís Margaret the Queen (Coronet Books) - a great evocation of the period. If you would like to know more about what happened to her sons try Tranterís David the Prince (Coronet Books).