Chapter 1 - Scotland
From the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
This year came the king back again to England on St. Nicholas's day; This summer the child Edgar departed, with his mother Agatha, and his two sisters, Margaret and Christina, and Merle-Sweyne, and many good men with them; and came to Scotland under the protection of King Malcolm, who entertained them all. Then began King Malcolm to yearn after the child's sister, Margaret, to wife; but he and all his men long refused; and she also herself was averse, and said that she would neither have him nor any one else, if the Supreme Power would grant, that she in her maidenhood might please the mighty Lord with a carnal heart, in this short life, in pure continence. The king, however, earnestly urged her brother, until he answered Yea. And indeed he durst not otherwise; for they were come into
his kingdom. This queen aforesaid performed afterwards many useful deeds in this land to the glory of God, and also in her royal estate she well conducted herself, as her nature was.
Of a faithful and noble kin was she sprung. Her father was Edward Etheling, son of King Edmund. Edmund was the son of Ethelred; Ethelred the son of Edgar; Edgar the son of Edred; and so forth in that royal line: and her maternal kindred goeth to the Emperor Henry, who had the sovereignty over Rome. This year went out Githa, Harold's mother, and the wives of many good men with her, to the Flat-Holm, and there abode some time; and so departed thence over sea to St. Omer's.
In early 1067, Edgar, uncrowned King of the English, found himself a guest in the court of Malcolm III, King of the Scots. He was accompanied in his exile by his mother Agatha, and sister Margaret, with a few loyal household retainers. And exile it most certainly was, for the Atheling was more Malcolm’s hostage than his ‘guest’. While Edgar could use this time to plan to regain his rightful inheritance, the patronising courtesy afforded him by the Scots nobles taught him early that the only ally he would have was himself.
Edgar’s personality matures
So much was Edgar in Malcolm’s debt that when the King’s brother Donald became desirous of the lady Margaret, Edgar was unable to protect his sister’s dignity. Despite her desire to live her life in quiet monastic contemplation, Donald’s offer for the lady Margaret’s hand was but an empty formality.
The Marriage of Margaret to Donald
Donald Dunkeld, Brother to King Malcolm, Chancellor of the Realm
The marriage of Margaret to Donald, though hardly Edgar’s choice, did, however, serve to tie the two royal families together. Having witnessed the chaotic events of Edward the Confessor’s death and the Norman Conquest, many of the Scottish Lowland nobility saw the opportunity to take advantage of the instability in England. The Earls of Northumbria and Lancashire, the Leofricson brothers, seemed to be natural allies for the Scots and Edgar alike.
Edwin Leofricson, Earl of Lancaster
Morcar Leofricson, Earl of Northumbria
King Malcolm was reluctant to move recklessly, despite Edgar’s protests, and the incitations of his lairds, citing the lack of loyalty from some of his own Highland nobility, most notably the disgruntled Loarn clan of Moray. An expedition into Northern England would surely present ample opportunity for Malcolm’s enemies to cause trouble for him at home.
Maelsnechten Loarn, Laird of Moray
And so the debates continued. Malcolm was unwilling to act without firm declarations of support from the Northern Earls of England, while Edgar was unable to persuade the Leofricson brothers of his sincerity without the written support of the King of Scots. Even as Edgar grew into his manhood, he quietly fumed at his enforced state of inaction.
Edgar Atheling at 16
His sister Margaret, meanwhile, charmed the court with her knowledge of continental culture, acquired during the family’s exile in Hungary. Both her husband Donald and brother-in-law King Malcolm appeared entranced by her tales of the court of the Holy Roman Emperor and the customs of King Edward’s England. She fiercely lobbied the King and her husband the Chancellor for the introduction of the Benedictine order to Scotland. In February 1069, she bore her first child, Edgar’s niece, a daughter by the name of Aufrica.
In September, political events to the south took a dramatic turn. Edwin Leofricson, Earl of Lancaster, refused to attend the a gathering of notables organised by King William on the of St Michael the Archangel. As a result, his lands were declared forfeit by his Norman master. Despite his attempt at armed resistance, the fyrd of Lancashire was soon crushed, and the county laid open to the Norman armies. As the wails of good Saxon ladies were heard across the realm, the fate of the Lancastrians prompted Edwin’s younger brother Morcar to formally approach Malcom with an offer of alliance.
The Fall of Lancashire
An Alliance is Formed
At Edgar’s insistant urging, and sensing an opportunity, Malcolm agreed, proclaiming his friendship for the Northumbrian people, and Edwin’s god-given right to rule over them.
In Decmeber, another neice of Edgar’s was born to Margaret and Donald, by the name of Dublemna. With his own marital bed as yet unfilled, rumours began to circulate that Edgar himself was becoming too close to the Scots Queen.
Another niece for Edgar.
And a new relationship begins to blossom.
It did not take Morcar long to act in defence of his realm. Hoisting the ancient banner of the Northumbrian kings, he sent out messengers in June, 1070, to proclaim the rule of William the Bastard as illegitimate, and announce his support for Edgar as King of the English.
William’s invasion of England, had however, been given the blessing of the Pope himself, and Phillipe, the young King of France, offered his wholehearted support to his Norman neighbour. The Scots and Northumbrians would have a difficult struggle ahead of them.
AAR Note – While in reality Margaret was taken as a wife by Malcolm, and became a celebrated Queen of the Scots, in the CK universe, Malcolm is firmly wedded to his Norwegian wife. So it was his unmarried brother (Donald) who took Margaret to his bed. The ‘real-life’ Margaret became one of the celebrated Queens of early Medieval Scotland, and was later canonized as a saint. The rebellion in Northumbria is overdue compared to the chronicler’s accounts, and in this period there were also aborted attempts by the Godwinsons to land in the North, with the help of Irish or Danish armies. The King of Denmark, however, despite having claims to much of Northern England, appears uninterested in an invasion.
Edgar’s affair with Malcolm’s Queen was an unexpected turn of events, and one that I suspect might land him in some trouble if he’s not careful...