Image of Saint Margaret in a window at St Margaret's Chapel, Edinburgh
Saint Margaret of Scotland
A Queen Consort
c. 1045 – 16 November 1093
Saint Margaret of Scotland also known as Margaret of Wessex and Queen Margaret of Scotland, 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 Ætheling, 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 his queen consort.
She attended to charitable works, serving orphans and the poor every day before she ate, and washing the feet of the poor in imitation of Christ. A cave on the banks of the Tower Burn in Dunfermline was used by her as a place of devotion and prayer. St Margaret's Cave, now covered beneath a municipal car park, is open to the public. Amongst her other deeds, Margaret also instigated the restoration of the monastery at Iona. She is also known to have been an intercessor for the release of fellow English exiles, forced into serfdom by the conquest. Margaret was the mother of three kings of Scotland and a queen consort of England. She was a pious woman, and among many other 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.
Her husband, Malcolm III, and their eldest son, Edward, were killed in a fight against the English at the Battle of Alnwick on 13 November 1093. Already ill, Margaret died on 16 November 1093, three days after the deaths of her husband and eldest son.
Saint Margaret was canonised in 1250 by Pope Innocent IV in recognition of her personal holiness, fidelity to the Church, work for religious reform, and charity.
Several churches are dedicated to Saint Margaret. One of the oldest is St Margaret's Chapel in Edinburgh Castle, which was founded by her son King David I.
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