Sunday, 21 February 2010

The connection between Margaret of Denmark and Shetland

Margaret of Denmarkqueen margaret of denmark
For anyone who is not familiar with Shetland it is a beautiful collection of islands off the north of Scotland. It is situated 100 miles from Scotland and 200 miles west of Norway (see map below). Perhaps because of its remoteness it maintains a unique character of its own independent from its greater Scottish and British identities. The roots of this are also in the fact it up until the latter part of the fifteenth century it was part of Denmark. Uniquely it was actually pawned along with Orkney to the Scottish crown by Christian I of Denmark as part of his daughter's dowry. This transaction took place when Christian's daughter Margaret of Denmark married James III of Scotland in 1469. Contemporary writers describe Margaret as a beautiful and likeable woman, however it is said that she was neglected by her husband. This neglect was probably in part to do with the political strife in Scotland at the time. As soon as James arrived home with his new bride the first news he received was of plots and conspiracies. Margaret and James reigned together in Scotland until Margaret's death after an illness in 1486. James was murdered shortly after in 1488 after a difficult reign, and buried with his Queen, their tomb can still be seen at the ruined twelfth century Cambuskenneth Abbey in Stirling, Scotland.



Beautiful: Burra Beach, Shetland
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Cambuskenneth Abbey with tomb in foreground
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Locating Shetland on the Map:
View Larger Map

Illustrations:

Picture of Burra Beach, Shetland is my own
The picture of Cambuskenneth Abbey is from http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/
Portrait of Margaret of Denmark from Shaw, Henry, Dresses and decorations of the Middle Ages, Volume 2, (1843)

Copyright © 2010 Elaine Hunter




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