Malcolm Canmore


Malcolm Canmore was an exceptionally long-ruling king of Scotland, whose reign extended from the fall of the Usurper Macbeth, through the first twenty-five years of Norman rule in England. Malcolm's second wife was Margaret of Scotland, an exiled Saxon princess. Under her influence, Malcolm supported the Saxon cause against the Normans for many years and at the same time she impressed the entire Scottish court with her piety and charity.

Malcolm Canmore was the son of Duncan, whom Macbeth killed when he usurped the throne of Scotland. Malcolm had taken refuge in England and spent his youth there during most of Macbeth's seventeen year reign. When he reached adulthood, his English allies tried to help him recover the throne in 1054, but failed. Three years later, another attempt was successful, and Malcolm was crowned king of the Scots.

In 1066 William the Conqueror invaded England and displaced the Saxon rule with a Norman one, an event which had repercussions throughout the British Isles. The Saxon claimant to the throne was Edgar (son of Edmund Ironside), and after the conquest he fled to Scotland with his sister Margaret and was received hospitably by Malcolm. Malcolm soon married the lovely Saxon princess Margaret, who was afterward known as St. Margaret of Scotland. Malcolm later led a Scottish army into Northumbria to support Edgar's cause, but eventually made peace with William the Conqueror, who had systematically reduced all opposition to his rule in most of England. The death of William the Conqueror brought a new round of conflict however, between Malcolm and William Rufus, which was related to an ongoing conflict between William Rufus and his elder brother Robert. In 1091, Rufus confiscated Edgar's property in England, and in retaliation, Malcolm led and army into Northumbria. He was killed there, along with his eldest son at the Battle of Alne. Queen Margaret was so distressed at the news that she herself died shortly thereafter.

Key events during the life of Malcolm Canmore:

Malcolm Canmore born, son of Duncan, king of Scotland.
Macbeth murders Duncan and usurps the throne of Scotland.
English allies of Malcolm invade Scotland but fail to win the crown for him.
Macbeth is killed by his Scottish enemies. Canmore crowned king of Scotland.
Scots invade Northumbria and plunder Lindisfarne
William the Conqueror is crowned king of England
Margaret and Edgar, the exiled Saxon heirs take refuge at Malcolm's court.
Married Saint Margaret of Scotland.
Led campaign into Northumbria to support the claim of Edgar.
William the Conqueror marches to Scotland and Malcolm submits.
Death of William the Conqueror. William Rufus assumes the throne.
William Rufus confiscates Edgar's property in England. He flees to Scotland.
Malcolm and his eldest son killed in the Battle of Alne.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Edith of Scotland  in  Historic Girls  by  E. S. Brooks
Malcolm Canmore—The King Overcame a Traitor  in  Scotland's Story  by  Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall
Saint Margaret of Scotland  in  Our Island Saints  by  Amy Steedman

Image Links

Although he could not read, he would examine her books, and kiss those which he liked best.
 in The Book of Saints and Heroes

Short Biography
Margaret of Scotland Wife of Malcolm III of Scotland. Pius and noble Queen. Mother of Maude the Good.
Macbeth Murdered Duncan, the rightful king of Scotland. Ruled until he was murdered by MacDuff.
Edgar Aetheling Brother of St. Margaret and rightful heir to the Saxon thone.
William the Conqueror Claimed the crown of England and won it at the Battle of Hastings. Ruled forcefully but justly.
William Rufus Son of William the Conqueror. A bad and brutal king. Killed in the New Forest.