Margaret was probably born in Hungary and raised at Stephen’s Court, where her father, Prince Edward d’Outremer, was in exile. When she was 12 years old she was taken to the court of King Edward the Confessor in England, but was forced to flee England with her siblings and her mother, Agatha, after the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
The family was given refuge at the court of King Malcolm III of Scotland and soon Margaret and Malcolm fell in love. They were married in 1070 at Dunfermline Castle and subsequently had eight children.
Margaret was known for her great piety. She prayed and fasted constantly and showed much concern for the poor. She supported synods that reformed abuses that were so prevalent at the time, such as simony and usury. She also encouraged arts and education, acted as adviser in state matters, and with her husband, Malcolm, founded Holy Trinity Church at Dunfermline. Margaret died at Edinburgh Castle on November 15, soon after finding out that rebels attacking Alnwick Castle had killed her husband and one of her sons. She was canonized in 1250 and declared patroness of Scotland in 1673.
Queen Margaret had a great influence on her husband and his court. With her refined ways and intellect, she was able to bring about many changes for the good. Malcolm, while a good man, tended to be quick-tempered and “rough around the edges.” Many of the people were ignorant and unrefined. Margaret was able to bring out the best in her husband and others, however. She obtained good teachers, took measures to rid the court of all evil practices, and had new churches built. Margaret herself embroidered the priest’s vestments.
Malcolm was very pleased with the changes that Margaret brought about in his court. Soon the men showed better manners and the ladies, following Margaret’s example, became gentler and more devout. Queen Margaret and King Malcolm also were a wonderful example to others in their piety. They prayed together and also personally took food to the crowds of needy people. God blessed this royal couple with eight children, two daughters and six sons. Margaret was a wonderful mother as well and her youngest son became St. David.
Father, help us to learn from the pious example of this great queen. When Margaret learned of the death of her beloved husband and son, rather than despair, she prayed and thanked You for sending her such a great sorrow to purify her of her sins. Like St. Margaret, help us to be a good and pious influence on the people in our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Other Saints We Remember Today
St. Gertude the Great (1302), Virgin, Benedictine nun and mystic
St. Mechtilde of Helfta (1298), Virgin, friend/St. Gertrude the Great