Kings of Alba

History of the Kings of Alba 997-1094 AD

Kenneth III reigned 997-1005-Son of King Dubh who usurped the throne from King Constantine III (r.995-997), known as Constantine the Bald, killing him and his heir in battle at Rathinveramon near Scone in 997 AD. His eldest son Giric was an active member of his reign as a Sea-Lord ruling in his name when Kenneth was wounded by Norsemen in a skirmish near Inverlochy in 998. In the year 999, Kenneth recovered fully and killed the King of Dublin in battle when the Norse-Irish vikings invaded from the sea. From 1000 AD on, Giric ruled jointly with King Kenneth III as King Giric II. Both Kings were killed by Malcolm the Destroyer in single combat during the Battle of Monzievaird or the Battle of the Moor of Bards in the year 1005.

Malcolm II r.1005-1034-Son of the King of Alba, Kenneth II (r.971-995), known as Malcolm the Destroyer. Returned from exile in Ireland in the year 1005 at the age of twenty, meeting King Kenneth III in the Battle of Monzievaird, killing the kings son and then the king in single combat. Crowned as King of Alba at Scone in the same year. Nearly killed when his forces are massacred by the Northumbrians in 1006. Annexes Lothian after his decisive victory at the Battle of Carham, or the Battle of Coldstream in 1018. At war during most of his reign with the Jarls of Orkney and Northumbria. Makes several alliances with the vikings in the Western Isles, and accepts an important treaty with King Cnut of England, Denmark, Norway, and ‘some’ Swedes, in the year 1032, establishing the Anglo-Scottish border. Dies of wounds sustained in the siege of Glamis castle in 1034 with no direct heir.

Duncan I r.1034-1040-Son of Crínán & a nephew of King Malcolm II, named King of Strathclyde, reigning from 1020-1040. Duncan is remembered as the King of Alba who made war with the lords of Moray and Orkney throughout his short reign, winning a costly victory off the shore of Caithness in 1038, at the Battle of the Longships against Thorfinn The Mighty. Though he does not command in the field, his royal armies led by Macduff the Thane of Fife and the Mormaer of Moray Macbeth defeat the rebel armies of Thane of Cawdor and Macdonald of Argyll in 1038. In the year 1040, Thorfinn the Mighty destroyed Duncan’s royal fleet off Deerness in the Orkney islands, the king barely escaping with his life across the Moray Firth. Duncan was killed at the Battle of Pitgaveny near Elgin Castle in August of the same year after leading his royal army against Macbeth, Mormaer of Moray. Macbeth killed Duncan in a blacksmiths hut as his armies broke; usurping his throne and taking his life in one swing of the sword. King Duncan I was buried on the isle of Iona next to his uncle King Malcolm II

Macbeth I r. 1040-1057- Son of Finlay of Moray. Thane of Cromarty and later Mormaer of Moray. Fought for King Duncan I against the rebel armies of the Thane of Cawdor and Macdonald of Argyll in 1038. Usurped the throne from King Duncan in 1040 after raising an army and meeting the kings’ royal host at Pitgaveny. Duncan was slain by Macbeth’s own hand in the blacksmiths’ hut outside Pitgaveny and crowned king in Scone shortly after. Defeats the revolt of Crínán in 1045, killing him in a skirmish at the Firth of Tay. King Macbeth makes peace with Thorfinn The Mighty, and later forms an alliance with the King of Leinster, Bran mac Colggen, warring with the Norse jarls of the Western Isles throughout his reign to curb their power in the Western Isles. Macbeth makes a pilgrimage to Rome in 1050, blessed by His Holiness Pope Leo IX. As King he was known for his piety and generosity. Defeated at Dunsinane Hill in 1054 by the allied armies of Siward and Prince Malcolm Canmore, Macbeth escaped defeat & death after Canmore and Siward marched back to Northumbria. He would remain king until 1057, when he abdicated in favor of his step-son, Lulach, following Prince Malcolm’s second invasion of Alba. Killed by Malcolm Canmore’s men in 1057 at the Battle of Lumphananand buried on Iona.

Lulach I r.1057-1058- Known as the Fool or the Unlucky King & as the ‘Simple King of Scotland’. Lulach was the son of Gille Coemgáin and Gruoch of Alba, a grandaughter of King Kenneth III. He was named the Mormaer of Moray after he became the stepson of Macbeth, later convincing his stepfather to abdicate in his favor in 1057. Lulach was crowned at Scone shortly before Macbeth was killed at Battle of the Peelring of Lumphanan. Killed before the Battle of Essie after Prince Malcolm Canmore offered parlay before the melee. His body was buried on Iona in the mausoleum of Malcolm I.

Malcolm III, Malcolm Canmore (Caennmor), _r1058-1093- Son of Duncan I, Canmore means literally “large or great head/neck” or chief. Prince Malcolm lived in exile in Northern England after the death of his father King Duncan at the Battle of Pitgaveny. Malcolm was fostered by his uncle Siward the Jarl of Northumbria, spending his formative years in York and then Alnwick. Prince Malcolm invaded Alba in 1054 with his uncle and with the aid of numerous Western Isle Norse chieftains, participating in the Battle of Dunsinane Hill after which he is named Prince of Cumbria by Jarl Siward. Killed Macbeth and his step-son in 1057-1058 after invading Scotland for a second time with Northumbrian aid. Led his men to victory at the Battle of Peelring of Lumphanan, taking Macbeths head in vengeance for the death of his father and grandfather. Victor of the battle of Lannraig in 1073. As King, he made war with England three separate times trying to expand south during his reign. Paid homage in the year 1075 to William King of England, 1066-1087. Killed at the Battle of Alnwick in 1093 by the steward of Robert de Mowbray, Earl of Northumbria. Buried on Iona

Donald III, Donald the Fair or Donalbane r.1093-1094- Born in the year 1037, second son of King Duncan I and his wife Queen Sybilla, younger brother of King Malcolm III. Donalbane fought in his brother and uncles’ army at Dunsinane Hill in 1054. He commanded his brother’s vanguard in 1057 at the Three Days Battles, Dundurn, Forteviot, and Scone, where he was horribly wounded in the leg, arm, and chest in the storming of Scone. Donald the Fair was lame thereafter, spending the rest of his brothers war recovering. Donalbane took the throne after his brother and his heirs death in 1093 at the Battle of Alnwick. Donalbane is deposed by his nephew Duncan and a Anglo-Norman army fleeing Scone for the safety of Loch Ness. Just months later in the summer of 1094, Duncan is deposed as well by his youngest brother, Edgar the Valiant, thus beginning the War of Three Crowns.

Duncan II, Prince Duncan, r.1094-Son of Malcolm III who lived for most of his youth in Norman England, as a noble hostage of King William I beginning in 1072. Learned much from the tutelage of Norman court members and King William himself, traveling to Normandy in 1080. Returned to Scone in 1086, becoming an influential member of his fathers court. Deposed his uncle Donalbane in 1094 with the help of an Anglo-Norman army and crowned King of Alba in Fife of that same year. Soon after Duncan is forced from Fife by a vast host of Norman knights led by his younger brother, Edgar the Valiant.

Edgar I, Edgar the Valiant, r.1094-Youngest son of King Malcolm III who spends his teenage years abroad, first in England and then Normandy. Sent to the the Duchy of Normandy in the service of King William the Conqueror, Edgar became a landed knight by the age of fourteen, following his service against rebel Norman barons in 1087. Learning of his fathers’ great plans for War with the Kingdom of Northumbria in 1092-1093, Edgar sailed for Alba but is unable to his father and eldest brother before they were killed in the Battle of Alnwick, 1093. Fostering good relations with the Conquerors son & heir, William Rufus, King William II upon his return to Britannia, he leads a Norman van of well over 1000 horsemen into Alba to claim the throne from his clever uncle Donalbane and naive but charismatic older brother Duncan. In the summer of 1094 Edgar invades Alba, initiating the first major campaigns in the War of Three Crowns, challenging both his brother Duncan, and his uncle Donalbane for control of the Kingdom of Alba.

Kings of Alba

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