When the King of Scots Married a Saint By Regan Walker
|Margaret reads to Malcolm|
Both Margaret and Malcolm have cameo appearances in my new medieval romance, Rogue Knight, and will be characters in my next book, Rebel Warrior, set in Scotland in 1072, to be released in 2016.
When Margaret and her family sought refuge in Scotland in 1070 after the Norman Conquest, she was in her early twenties; Malcolm was nearly twice her age. If Margaret had been given her choice, she would have chosen the church, along with her sister Cristina, who became an abbess, for Margaret was devout and given to prayer, fasting and charitable works. But it was not to be.
Malcolm had murdered his way to the throne in 1058 and was, according to St. Berchan, a “vigilant crusher of enemies”. He was also ruthless in his plundering of Northumbria, which he considered to be his territory (the border between Scotland and England being not so fixed then as it is today). All this said, when the “beast” glimpsed the “beauty” Margaret, he was smitten and desired her for his queen. He leaned on her younger brother, Edgar the Atheling (heir to the English throne were it not for the Conqueror) asking for her hand. Edgar, needing an ally and safety for his mother and sisters, agreed to the match.
We know that Margaret was initially opposed to the marriage. She had been gently bred, first in Hungary where her father was a prince in exile, and then in England where Edward the Confessor summoned him when Margaret was ten, and made him heir to the throne. In England, Margaret led a devout life, praying and reading the Scriptures in Latin and busying herself with needlework and learning French.
When the Confessor died and Harold of Wessex was named King of England, only to be slain by the Norman Conqueror at Hastings, Margaret’s young brother Edgar was named king—but not crowned because of the Conquest.
Margaret’s family ultimately sought refuge in Scotland and that is what brought her to Malcolm’s attention. Perhaps Margaret believed that God—whose will she ever sought to obey—had a purpose for her life different from that she had first envisioned. That might have been what persuaded her. In any event, in 1070, she became wife to Malcolm, devoted to her warrior husband and to improving the lot of the poor Scots and Saxons who gathered in Dunfermline around the royal seat. That she left a lasting legacy cannot be denied. In 1250, she was made St. Margaret.
In the more than twenty years they were married (until they died within days of each other), Margaret gave her husband six sons and two daughters. Three would become King of the Scots and one daughter became a Queen of England. That Margaret’s rough, warrior husband deferred to her, at least in matters of their family, can be seen in the names given their sons—all Saxon: Edward, Edmund, Ethelred, Edgar, Alexander and David. Perhaps, in agreeing to such names, Malcolm saw the potential for his sons to one day claim the throne of England, for as long as Margaret’s younger brother, Edgar, remained unmarried and childless, his rights to rule England would be transmitted through Margaret to her children.
|Margaret holding council|
Margaret was an intelligent beauty, arguing with the Scottish clerics about what she saw as errors in their religious observances that differed from what Rome prescribed. While Malcolm was illiterate and Margaret read to him, she spoke Gaelic poorly and he spoke it well, often interpreting for her when she held councils to debate with the clerics or carry out the law. Because she treasured her copy of the Gospels, Malcolm had it encased in gold and decorated with jewels. Not a bad gift for a rough, warlike man.
Margaret cared for the orphans and poor, often pillaging her husband’s plunder and wealth to aid them. This amused but did not anger him. He even joined her in ministering to the less fortunate.
Margaret was a loving mother and a devoted wife all the days of her life with Malcolm. I like to think their unlikely match was one made in Heaven. Margaret, I have no doubt, would agree.
About The Rogue Knight
Publication Date: October 7, 2015
eBook & Paperback; 234 Pages
Series: Medieval Warriors #2
Genre: Historical Romance
York, England 1069… three years after the Norman Conquest
The North of England seethes with discontent under the heavy hand of William the Conqueror, who unleashes his fury on the rebels who would dare to defy him. Amid the ensuing devastation, love blooms in the heart of a gallant Norman knight for a Yorkshire widow.
A LOVE NEITHER CAN DENY, A PASSION NEITHER CAN RESIST
Angry at the cruelty she has witnessed at the Normans’ hands, Emma of York is torn between her loyalty to her noble Danish father, a leader of the rebels, and her growing passion for an honorable French knight.
Loyal to King William, Sir Geoffroi de Tournai has no idea Emma hides a secret that could mean death for him and his fellow knights.
WAR DREW THEM TOGETHER, WAR WOULD TEAR THEM APART
War erupts, tearing asunder the tentative love growing between them, leaving each the enemy of the other. Will Sir Geoffroi, convinced Emma has betrayed him, defy his king to save her?
About the AuthorRegan Walker is an award winning, bestselling author of Regency, Georgian and Medieval romance novels. She has been a featured author on USA TODAY's HEA blog three times and twice nominated for the prestigious RONE award (her novel, The Red Wolf's Prize won the RONE for Best Historical Novel in the medieval category in 2015).
Regan writes historically authentic novels, weaving into her stories real history and real historic figures. She wants her readers to experience history, adventure and love.
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