Wednesday, August 17, 2022

St Margaret of Scotland – Feast Day – November 16

St Margaret of Scotland was an English princess and a Scottish queen born in 1045 in Hungary and died on November 16 1093 in Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland. We celebrate her feast day on November 16 every year in the Catholic Church.

St Margaret of Scotland Biography
St Margaret of Scotland - Feast Day - November 16
St Margaret of Scotland – Feast Day – November 16
Date of Birth 1045
Place of Birth Hungary in Europe
Matrimony/Holy Orders Saints who were Married
Profession Queen of Scotland
Place of Work Scotland
Date of Death November 16 1093
Place of Death Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Feast Day November 16
Canonization By Pope Innocent IV in 1251

St Margaret of Scotland Life History

St Margaret of Scotland’s father was Prince Edward of England and her mother was Agatha. Her grandfather was King Edmund Ironside of England. 

When King Edmund Ironside died in 1016, King Canute of England exiled the young Prince Edward and his brother to Sweden. Later they moved to Kyiv (Kiev) and to Hungary.

In Hungary, Prince Edward married Princess Agatha of Hungary and St Margaret was born in 1045. Her other siblings, Edgar her brother, and Christina her sister were also born there.

Margaret’s father, Prince Edward, was recalled to England in 1057 to be a successor after King Edward the Confessor, who was childless, began aging. The family, therefore, moved from Hungary back to England and lived in the King’s court.

Immediately after arriving in England, Margaret’s father, Prince Edward fell ill in a strange way and died. When King Edward the Confessor died in 1066, her brother Edgar rose to the throne but was overthrown later, and together with Margaret, Christina, and their mother Agatha, they fled to Northumbria, England.

Later on, Agatha wished to return home but when they boarded the ship, it was driven North by a storm and were shipwrecked. Their plight was salvaged by King Malcolm III who gave them refuge. The point where their ship docked is today named St Margaret’s Hope. King Malcolm III, a widower with two sons, Donald and Duncan, married St Margaret of Scotland in 1070.

King Malcolm III and St Margaret of Scotland were blessed with eight children. Two daughters namely; 

  • Edith – renamed Matilda, queen of England
  • Mary – countess of Boulogne

Six sons namely;

  • Edward 
  • Edmund 
  • Ethelred, abbot of Dunkeld, Perth and Kinross, Scotland
  • Edgar – King of Scotland (1097-1107)
  • Alexander I – King of Scotland (1107-1124)
  • David I – King of Scotland (1124-1153)

St Margaret of Scotland used to read Bible verses to her husband and through this, she had much influence on the King. She initiated religious reforms which aligned the Church liturgy in Scotland to that in Rome.

Although King Malcolm III had a good heart but was rough and not a religious enthusiast. But because of his love for Margaret, he allowed her to proceed with the religious reforms as she wished. Therefore, she was free to love and serve God and others.

The Scottish Church used to observe Lent from the following Monday after Ash Wednesday, and therefore, St Margaret helped to align the observance from Ash Wednesday. She also changed the day of rest from labour from Saturday to Sunday.

These reforms and many other achievements led to her being referred to as the “just ruler”. Her examples influenced her husband and her sons who became future kings, to be holy and just rulers. Many people recognized Queen Margaret as strong, pure, and of noble character.

St Margaret of Scotland loved very much to do charitable work. She would serve food to the orphans and the poor even before eating and would wash their feet, just like Jesus did.

In 1072, she also facilitated the establishment of the Benedictine monastery in Dunfermline, Fife. She also established many Churches and ferries at North Berwick and Queensferry to assist pilgrims to move across the Firth of Forth River to St Andrew‘s in Fife. Pious Margaret used to pray in a cave which is today known as St. Margaret’s Cave. 

On November 13 1093, King Malcolm III and Edward, their eldest son were killed by the British in the Battle of Alnwick.

Death

After the death of her husband and eldest son, St Margaret of Scotland grieved a lot and after three days after receiving the sad news, she died on November 16 1093.

Relics

St Margaret of Scotland was buried in the Dunfermline Abbey in Fife, Scotland. In 1560, her head was taken to Edinburgh Castle following a request by Mary Queen of Scots. Her head later ended up in France at the Jesuits’ Scots College in Douai but after the French Revolution, it was lost.

Canonization

St Margaret of Scotland was canonized by Pope Innocent IV in 1250 in recognition of her piety, and religious reforms in Scotland.

St Margaret of Scotland Feast Day

We celebrate her feast day on November 16 every year in the Catholic Church.

Churches named after St Margaret of Scotland

  • Church of St Margaret of Scotland, Twickenham
  • St Margaret the Queen, Buxted Park, East Sussex, England
  • St Margaret’s Chapel in Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland

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