The History of Leith

December 7, 2011

St Margaret

The history of Edinburgh Castle is much associated with the memory of St. Margaret, the pious and beautiful queen of Malcolm III. (the successor of Macbeth) who often resided in it, and ultimately died in a tower on the west side of the rock, which bore her name till it was demolished in the siege of 1573. In recording her demise, ancient chroniclers have not failed to add much that is legendary to the truth, and this invests the solemn event with a peculiar charm. The grand-niece of Edward the Confessor, she had fled from her own country on the usurpation of Harold, but was wrecked on the Forth, at the place still called Queensferry. She and her retinue were hospitably entertained by Malcolm III., who had formerly, in his exile, been treated with kindness at the Saxon court of England, and who married her at Dunfermline.
Malcolm was the son of Duncan, whom Macbeth slew; and Shakspere, in his tragedy, must have been alluding to St. Margaret when he wrote of her as the mother, instead of the
wife, of Malcolm, in the lines spoken by Macduff, Macbeth, Act iv., scene 3 :—

” The queen that bore thee,
Oftener upon her knees than on her feet,
Died every day she lived.”

Source-Old and New Edinburgh

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