Sad saint

SCOTS Heritage Magazine - - Letter To The Editor -

On read­ing the fea­ture on Dun­fermline Abbey in last quar­ter’s is­sue (Spring 2017), I was com­pelled to sign the pe­ti­tion and write to your pub­li­ca­tion. The fact that Mar­garet Wes­sex, the Pearl of Scot­land, has been so ne­glected by his­tory seems a real dis­ser­vice to her mem­ory. To think that 11 royal graves re­main un­marked in one of Scot­land’s most sig­nif­i­cant his­tor­i­cal sites is sim­ply un­fath­omable. We should cher­ish these an­cient lo­ca­tions, es­pe­cially as 2017 has been al­lo­cated as a year to cel­e­brate our coun­try’s his­tory, her­itage and ar­chae­ol­ogy. I am very sur­prised ac­tion on this mat­ter has not been taken be­fore as it seems so vi­tal. Saint Mar­garet was born in po­lit­i­cal ex­ile in Hun­gary. She re­turned to Eng­land dur­ing the

short and ill fated reign of her brother as the last An­glo-Saxon King of Eng­land. How­ever she was forced to flee to Scot­land af­ter the Norman Con­quest. She then mar­ried King Mal­colm III ‘Can­more’, the king who fa­mously killed Mac­beth, in 1070. Her de­vo­tion as a Ro­man Catholic and var­i­ous char­i­ta­ble ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing the found­ing of a ferry ser­vice cross­ing the Firth of Forth to al­low pil­grims to travel to Dun­fermline Abbey and St An­drews, saw her later canon­ised by Pope In­no­cent IV in 1250. She died at Ed­in­burgh Cas­tle in 1093, only hours af­ter hearing of her hus­band’s death at the Bat­tle of Al­nwick and the mor­tal wound­ing of their el­dest son and heir ap­par­ent, Prince Ed­ward. A princess who died of a bro­ken heart, then was made a saint – it is a won­der no scriptwriter has come up with a fran­chise to en­cour­age vis­i­tors to Dun­fermline.

Alexan­dra Dun­das, Cardiff

Image: Dun­fermline Abbey.

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