Fiona: We’re coming to the sad bit now. Queen Margaret carries on with her good works, her devotion to God is admired by everyone and King Malcolm gets on with defending Scotland. Malcolm fought many battles in Northumberland when defending his lands or trying to seize more for his Kingdom and he did so again in 1093, taking two of their sons with him. This time, he didn’t make it back triumphantly and both he and their eldest son, Edward, were killed.
Thomas: Sounds like she lost the love of her life.
Fiona: We can’t know for sure, but it was written down what happened next. You remember I told you that she ate just once a day? Seems her diet was so frugal, and her daily routine so strenuous, with helping the poor and staying up all night to pray, that by now she was very weak. Hearing the news that her husband and her son had been killed was just too much for her. They say she died just three days later, in Edinburgh Castle, not yet 50 years old.
Thomas: That is a sad end to her life. But it doesn’t explain how she became a saint.
Fiona: For someone to become a saint, or canonised- as it’s called – is usually a very long process, sometimes hundreds of years but in Margaret’s case, it all happened in quite a short time. A mere 150 years or so after her death.
Thomas: Why was she so special? I mean, you’ve told me she lived this good life, lots of charity, lots of praying, but surely lots of people did that.
Fiona: You’re right. The modernising that she did for the church and the contributions that she made to Scotland, particularly at a time when it was so tough for women to have any control over their own lives, is something that I find completely inspiring. However, to be made a saint, that isn’t enough in itself. The key requirement for sainthood is that at least two miracles are attributed to the person. It seems that Margaret is responsible for quite a cache of miracles. 4542 all up apparently, most of them after her death. There’s a great story about the one that did happen whilst she was alive, though.
Thomas: How about telling me whilst I get a chance for a another sit down. Those benches at the fancy gates to the High Street look appealing, right now. Those gates are pretty grand. Something to do with Margaret, maybe?