views updated May 11 2018

Margaret (1283–90), queen of Scots (1286–90), known as ‘the Maid of Norway’. Daughter of Eric II of Norway, she succeeded her grandfather Alexander III, whose children had all predeceased him, at the age of 3 in 1286, and her premature death four years later was one of the most significant events in medieval British history. Her betrothal to Edward of Caernarfon (the future Edward II), agreed by the treaty of Birgham, was intended to perpetuate Anglo-Scottish peace through dynastic union. But she died at Kirkwall in Orkney on her way from Bergen to Scotland. This tragedy led to a disputed succession in Scotland, to Edward I's ill-judged interventions in Scottish affairs, and to the Scottish Wars of Independence.

Keith J. Stringer


views updated May 21 2018

Margaret female forename, name of two saints.
St Margaret of Antioch the centre of much popular devotion in the Middle Ages, but probably never existed as a historical person. She is recognized as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. Also called Marina. Her feast day is on 13 July in the Eastern Church, and 20 July in the Western Church. She is often depicted spearing a dragon.
St Margaret of Scotland (c.1046–93), English princess and Scottish queen, wife of Malcolm III. She exerted a strong influence over royal policy during her husband's reign, and was instrumental in the reform of the Scottish Church. Feast day, 16 November.

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