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Malcolm III of Scotland facts for kids

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Malcolm III
(Máel Coluim mac Donnchada)
King of Scots
Margaret and Malcolm Canmore (Wm Hole).JPG
Reign 1058–1093
Coronation 1057?/25 April 1058?, Scone
Born c.1031
Birthplace Scotland
Died 13 November 1093(1093-11-13)
Place of death Alnwick, Northumberland, England
Buried Tynemouth
Predecessor Lulach (Lulach mac Gille Comgaín)
Successor Donald III (Domnall Bán mac Donnchada)
Consort Ingebjorg Finnsdotter
Margaret of Wessex
Children Duncan II (Donnchad mac Máel Coluim)
Edward, Edmund, Edgar,
Alexander I, David I
Royal House Dunkeld
Father Duncan I (Donnchad mac Crínáin)
Mother Suthen

Malcolm III of Scotland, aka Malcolm Canmore, King of Scots. He was the first of a dynasty of kings who ruled Scotland for over two centuries.


Malcolm was born in 1031, the son of king Duncan I of Scotland and his wife; a cousin of Siward, Earl of Northumberland. When his father was killed in 1040 Malcolm did not succeed to the throne. At the time the system alternated between different lines of the same royal family. So the king chosen from a different royal line was Macbeth, who had killed Duncan I in battle. Malcolm killed Macbeth in battle in 1057, but Lulach, MacBeth's stepson was selected as king. This broke the pattern of alternate selection. Lulach ruled only ruled a few months until he was killed. Malcolm finally succeeded Lulach and changed the succession to his own sons and their descendants. This made Scotland like other European countries in keeping the same dynasty on the throne.

King of Scots

Malcolm was in his late twenties when he finally became king. Malcolm would lead a total of five raids into England starting in 1061. The Norman Conquest of England caused many to leave England. Malcolm welcomed several into Scotland. These included Edgar Atheling, his sisters Margaret and Christina as well as their mother. Raised at the court of St. Stephen of Hungary she was beautiful, wise, and very religious. Malcolm was at once taken with her and asked her to marry him. She refused as she and her sister were destined to be nuns. But after a time she finally accepted. By his marriage to Margaret he gained an interest in the English throne.

Edgar Atheling joined the uprising in the North of England in 1069 but it failed and William the Conqueror sacked York as punishment. Malcolm joined in but too late as Edgar left England on a Danish ship. Malcolm had long claimed Cumbria and Northumberland and made another raid on Bamburgh. He took so many captives that it was said there was an English slave in every house in Scotland. In 1071 William came north with a large army. He came as far as Abernethy but Malcolm wanted peace. William agreed to give him twelve English manors and pay a yearly fee. Malcolm had to give his son Malcolm as a hostage but this made him a vassal of the English king.

Edgar Atheling returned to Scotland the next year. He had been offered land on the border near Normandy by the French king. Malcolm told him to take it and settle down. He then gave Edgar gold and silver and sent him off to live in France. But Edgar soon returned having been shipwrecked on his journey. This time Malcolm advised him to make peace with king William of England. Edgar did and received a castle as a residence in England. In 1079 William and his son Robert were fighting in Normandy. Malcolm raided into England again being welcomed in Northumberland. But William sent his brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeux north to punish Northumberland and Robert to raid into Scotland. Once more Robert and Malcolm settled their differences and were at peace again. In 1092, during the reign of William Rufus Malcolm raided England yet again. Peace was again renewed with William Rufus. But William failed in one of his promises to Malcolm, so in 1093 the Scots invaded England again. This time Malcolm III died while fighting at Alnwick Castle. His son Edward died there also. Margaret, his queen died of grief after hearing the news of the death of her husband and their son.


About 1059 he married Ingibjorg, the widow of Thorfinn Sigurdson, Earl of Orkney. She was the daughter of Earl Finn Arnason. Together they had:

  • Duncan, eventually succeeded his father as king Duncan II.
  • Donald, ( 1085).

He married secondly Margaret of Wessex c. 1068. They had eight children; six sons and two daughters, including:

  • Edward ( 1093).
  • Edmund, Prince of Cumbria and later a monk.
  • Ethelred, Earl of Fife and abbot of Dunkeld.
  • Edgar of Scotland, afterwards king.
  • Alexander, later king of Scots as Alexander I.
  • David, later king of Scots as David I.
  • Matilda, married Henry I of England.
  • Mary, married (1102) to Eustace, Count of Boulogne. Their daughter, Matilda, was the wife of Stephen, king of England.

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