St Margaret, Queen of Scotland

St Margaret, Queen of Scotland

St Margaret, Queen of Scotland

St Margaret, Queen of Scotland


A precious pearl saw the light in Hungary, and lived at the court of the Confessor, a School of Holiness. Torn from homeland, you embrace another. You became Queen and Mother, the glory of Scots. Your Queen's crown, a crown of Charity. Your way, the Royal Way of the Cross...Once, mere men, placed crowns upon your head. But I, Innocent, Peter's successor, Servant of Christ, now place upon your head, the greatest crown of all, sainthood. - The Canonisation Oration of Innocent IV on St Margaret, made in 1250 St Margaret is, after Mary, Queen of Scots, perhaps the most famous woman in Scottish history, and her life is amongst the most extraordinary of any other major Scottish historical figure. Her father was the son of Edmund Ironside, who fled England on the accession of Cnut. As heirs to Edward the Confessor she and her brother returned from exile in Hungary to the England of the Confessor. Passed over as king on the succession of Harold II, Edgar and his sister fled to Scotland, where she married Malcolm Canmore. She was mother to eight children and gained a reputation for sanctity almost unparalleled in history. But this extraordinary woman, who had traversed the realms and courts of 11th-century Europe, was also one of the most formative influences on the medieval kingdom of Scots. To this day she is revered in both Hungary and Scotland.


This book was commissioned in 1991 by the St Margaret’s Chapel Guild as one of many activities designed to commemorate the nine-hundredth anniversary of the death of St Margaret in 1093. It was hoped by the Guild the book would appeal to the student of history and to the general reader equally. From the comments I have received since publication I believe this has been achieved. in addition I am grateful for having errors brought gently to my attention. This second edition has given me the opportunity to correct them.

Everything written in the Acknowledgements to the first edition I restate wholeheartedly. This book could never have been written without the help and encouragement of others, both in Scotland and Hungary. Yet while I have done little since 1993, the ladies of the St Margaret’s Chapel Guild have continued their work preserving her memory and keeping alive all that she stood for. of greatest sadness since 1993 were the deaths of Mrs Anne Macaulay and the Very Rev Dr Ronald Selby Wright, two of the inspirations and driving forces in the life of the Guild.

It would be remiss if I did not mention Dunfermline when thinking about those who promote the life and memory of St Margaret. She has many tireless supporters in that historic town and is as important there as she is in Edinburgh.

I am particularly pleased to include in the second edition the majestic illustration of St Margaret by the enormously skilled artist, Jurek Putter of St Andrews. No artistic work . . .

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