Saint Margaret of Scotland
Feastday: November 16
Saint Margaret of Scotland (c. 1045 – 16 November 1093), also known as Margaret of Wessex, was an English princess of the House of Wessex. Margaret was sometimes called "The Pearl of Scotland". Born in exile in Hungary, she was the sister of Edgar Ętheling, the short-ruling and uncrowned Anglo-Saxon King of England. Margaret and her family returned to England in 1057, but fled to the Kingdom of Scotland following the Norman conquest of England of 1066. Around 1070 Margaret married Malcolm III of Scotland, becoming Scottish queen. She was a pious woman, and among many charitable works she established a ferry across the Firth of Forth for pilgrims travelling to Dunfermline Abbey, which gave the towns of South Queensferry and North Queensferry their names. Margaret was the mother of three kings of Scotland (or four, if one includes Edmund of Scotland, who ruled Scotland with his uncle, Donald III) and of a queen consort of England. According to the Life of Saint Margaret, attributed to Turgot of Durham, she died at Edinburgh Castle in 1093, just days after receiving the news of her husband's death in battle. In 1250 she was canonized by Pope Innocent IV, and her remains were reinterred in a shrine at Dunfermline Abbey. Her relics were dispersed after the Scottish Reformation and subsequently lost.
Return to England
Still a child, she came to England with the rest of her family when her father, Edward, was recalled in 1057 as a possible successor to her great-uncle, the childless Edward the Confessor. Whether from natural or sinister causes, Edward died immediately on landing, but Margaret continued to reside at the English court where her brother, Edgar Ętheling, was considered a possible successor to the English throne. When the Confessor died in January 1066, Harold Godwinson was selected as king, Edgar perhaps being considered still too young. After Harold's defeat at the battle of Hastings later that year, Edgar was proclaimed King of England, but when the Normans advanced on London, the Witenagemot presented Edgar to William the Conqueror who took him to Normandy before returning him to England in 1068, when Edgar, Margaret, Cristina and their mother Agatha fled north to Northumbria.
Journey to Scotland
to tradition, the widowed Agatha decided to leave Northumbria with her children
and return to the continent. However, a storm drove their ship north to
Scotland, where they sought the protection of King Malcolm III. The spot where
they are said to have landed is known today as St Margaret's Hope, near the
village of North Queensferry. Margaret's arrival in Scotland in 1068, after the
failed revolt of the Northumbrian earls, has been heavily romanticized, though
Symeon of Durham implied that her first meeting with Malcolm III may not have
been until 1070, after William the Conqueror's Harrying of the North.
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