Duncan II of Scotland

Duncan II of Scotland
Duncan II
King of Alba
Reign 1094
Predecessor Donald III
Successor Donald III
Spouse Uchtreda of Northumbria
William fitz Duncan
House House of Dunkeld
Father Malcolm III, King of Alba
Mother Ingibiorg Finnsdottir
Born b. c. 1060
Died 12 November 1094(1094-11-12)
Burial Dunfermline Abbey

Donnchad mac Maíl Coluim (Modern Gaelic: Donnchadh mac Mhaoil Chaluim;[1] anglicised as Duncan II; before c. 1060 – 12 November 1094) was king of Scots. He was son of Malcolm III (Máel Coluim mac Donnchada) and his first wife Ingibiorg Finnsdottir, widow of Thorfinn Sigurdsson.


Early life

Duncan was given into the keeping of William I of England in 1072 as a hostage, and spent many years at court, where he was exposed to the newly arrived Norman culture. His father, who had many sons, appears to have made no effort to obtain Duncan's return. By the reign of William II, Duncan was probably a member of the Norman court rather than a hostage, and he was knighted by the English King.

His father's chosen successor was Duncan's half-brother Edward, who died in the same combat during the invasion of Northumbria in 1093 as did Malcolm III. Malcolm was succeeded by his brother Donalbane (Domnall Bán mac Donnchada), who reigned as Donald III, and Malcolm's other sons joined their half-brother Duncan in England.


Duncan received William II's tacit support for the Scottish kingship, but the English king did not extend direct support, as he planned a campaign in Normandy. It is probably in the period 1093–1094 that Duncan married Uchtreda of Northumbria, daughter of Gospatric, Earl of Dunbar and Northumbria, although an earlier betrothal has been proposed. Accompanied by his Anglo-Norman followers, and perhaps by the elder of his half-brothers, Duncan easily defeated Donalbane in the early summer of 1094, but appears to have had little support north of the Forth, being reliant on his Northumbrian, English and Norman allies.


A revolt later in 1094 was directed against Duncan's followers rather than the new king, but many of the Normans were killed and the rest sent away in order to settle the revolt. Donalbane's supporters appear to have rallied again, and Duncan was murdered late in 1094 by Máel Petair, Mormaer of Mearns. He was buried at Dunfermline Abbey.


His son by Uchtreda, William fitz Duncan, was a prominent figure during the reigns of Duncan's half-brothers Alexander and David.



  1. ^ Donnchad mac Maíl Coluim is the Mediaeval Gaelic form
  • Barrow, G.W.S., The Kingdom of the Scots. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 2003. ISBN 0-7486-1803-1
  • Duncan, A.A.M., The Kingship of the Scots 842–1292: Succession and Independence. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 2002. ISBN 0-7486-1626-8
  • Duncan, A. A. M., Duncan II (b. before 1072, d. 1094), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 14 Nov 2010
  • Oram, Richard, David I: The King Who Made Scotland. Tempus, Stroud, 2004. ISBN 0-7524-2825-X
Duncan II of Scotland
Died: 1094 12 November
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Donald III
King of Scots
Succeeded by
Donald III

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