Margaret of Scotland vs. Charles I

Whew! Well, that was quite a start to Lent Madness 2018. The epic battle between Peter and Paul did not disappoint. In very heavy and heart-thumpingly close voting, Peter edged Paul 51% to 49% with nearly 9,500 votes cast and will face the winner of Phoebe vs. John the Evangelist in the Round of the Saintly Sixteen.

Today Margaret of Scotland takes on Charles I in a Battle Royale. No, literally, it's a battle between royals -- queen vs. king. But please don't refer to this as regicide. Charles is a bit touchy on that subject.

Looking ahead, tomorrow will be the one and only matchup of Lent Madness that takes place on a Saturday. Every other pairing will take place on the weekdays of Lent. So don't forget to set your alarm, make your coffee, and then vote as Genesius takes on Quiteria.

But first, a reminder about our one-vote-per-person rule. Last night at 7:58 pm Eastern time, the SEC removed 254 votes from Paul. We found that someone in Little Rock, Arkansas, had voted for Paul repeatedly (we can verify that it was not Bill Clinton). This person was cast into the outer darkness of Lent Madness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. We do appreciate saintly passion. But we ask that everyone respect the integrity of this little competition. We do keep an eye on voting irregularities. Think Big Brother -- only more purple.

Margaret of Scotland

Margaret of ScotlandMargaret of Scotland is the patron saint of that country. An English princess born in 1045 in exile in Hungary, Margaret was also known as Margaret of Wessex and the Pearl of Scotland, homages to both her social status and her lifelong ministry.

Princess Margaret was married to King Malcom III of Scotland, the same Malcolm immortalized by William Shakespeare in Macbeth. A deeply religious Christian, Margaret was a reformer and social justice crusader. She helped build and restore churches throughout Scotland, including Iona Monastery and the Abbey of Dunfermline, where a relic of the cross of Christ was housed and where she would eventually be buried.

Margaret endeavored to change the aged and dated ways of the clergy in Scotland, bringing that church on par with the religious practices conducted elsewhere in Christendom. For example, she believed that on the Lord’s Day, “We apply ourselves only to prayers.” She was also known to read the Bible to her illiterate spouse.

Margaret was a queen and the mother of kings, queens, a countess, and a bishop. Notwithstanding, of particular significance is that she can be considered the true patron saint of Lent Madness! As an observance of her faith, Margaret insisted that clergy start the Lenten season on Ash Wednesday.

She was a reformer beyond the church as well, establishing schools, orphanages, and hospitals throughout Scotland. Margaret and Malcolm were tireless in their efforts to improve the living conditions of the Scottish clans. Many churches are dedicated to Margaret, such as St. Margaret’s Chapel in Edinburgh Castle, founded by her son King David I in the twelfth century. Today the chapel is one of the oldest remaining buildings in Edinburgh.

Margaret died on November 16, 1093, in Edinburgh, three days after her husband and eldest son were killed in battle. Canonized in 1250, she is honored on
November 16.

Collect for Margaret of Scotland
O God, you called your servant Margaret to an earthly throne that she might advance your heavenly kingdom, and gave her zeal for your Church and love for your people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate her this day may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious crown of your saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

-Neva Rae Fox

Charles I

Charles ICharles Stuart was born in November of 1600, the second son of Anne of Denmark and James IV of Scotland. When he was eighteen, his elder brother died, and Charles took his place in the royal succession. Charles I became the king of England upon his father’s death in March of 1625.

As king, Charles did not get along with Parliament. They wanted a Protestant queen to bear a Protestant heir; Charles didn’t listen. He married Henrietta Maria, a Roman Catholic French princess, in May, 1625.

Meanwhile, the Thirty Years’ War was raging across Europe, pitting Protestants against Catholics, so his subjects expected Charles to despise the Catholic countries out of patriotism. Charles fought Catholic Spain but kept running out of money and raising taxes, which did not help national morale.

In 1633, Charles appointed William Laud as Archbishop of Canterbury. Together, they pushed for liturgical reforms, including many that are familiar practices to us today, such as adherence to the prayer book rubrics, use of vestments and candles, and the institution of the altar rail. To a large extent, Charles and Laud shaped Anglicanism in the way that we experience it today.

Yet his marriage, wars, and religious changes combined to create a toxic environment for King Charles. The English populace wondered if their king was Protestant or Catholic. Unrest grew. Charles’s refusal to convene Parliament for eleven years threw the country into civil war. Charles was captured in May, 1646. He was tried on charges of treason and other “high crimes” and was executed on January 30, 1649.

At his execution, one historian records that the crowd was overcome with grief and pushed forward to dip their handkerchiefs in his blood as relics. It was commonly thought that Charles was offered his life in exchange for abandoning the historic episcopate, yet he refused. Despite some failures as a monarch, he preserved the historic episcopate in Anglicanism, and ironically, may have enabled the Church to survive the English Civil War.

Collect for Charles I
Blessed Lord, in whose sight the death of thy saints is precious; We magnify thy Name for thine abundant grace bestowed upon our martyred Sovereign; by which he was enabled so cheerfully to follow the steps of his blessed Master and Saviour, in a constant meek suffering of all barbarous indignities, and at last resisting unto blood; and even then, according to the same pattern, praying for his murderers. Let his memory, O Lord, be ever blessed among us; that we may follow the example of his courage and constancy, his meekness and patience, and great charity...And all for Jesus Christ his sake, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.

-Megan Castellan


Margaret of Scotland vs. Charles I

  • Margaret of Scotland (89%, 7,618 Votes)
  • Charles I (11%, 928 Votes)

Total Voters: 8,546

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Margaret of Scotland: By Kjetil Bjørnsrud New york (Own work) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC BY 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Charles I: Gerard van Honthorst [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


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342 comments on “Margaret of Scotland vs. Charles I”

  1. My darling Mother Margaret would expect her daughter, Patricia Margaret, her granddaughter A. Margaret, and two great granddaughters, Kathryn Margaret and Isabella Margaret to vote for their Ancestress multi-great Grandmother, Queen, and Saint.

    1. Delightful. My great-grandmother was Margaret; her granddaughter(my aunt) Margaret; my first cousin, "little Margaret"-until her dying day at 84. Of course, my husband Charles III and son Charles IV but "Margaret of Scotland" won hands down in my heart.

      1. I'm glad to hear someone has a relative named Charles, and with numbers after it and all!

        By the way, what would we do without rubrics?!

    2. Of course named Margaret, I would certainly vote for Margaret of Scotland. While in Edinburgh several years ago, I went to a chapel named for her at the castle, however, only girls with the name of Margaret are able to be married there! Go Margaret!!

      1. Where did you get the idea that only girls named Margaret can be married in St. Margaret's chapel? I looked it up. The wedding that was pictured was of a girl named Fiona (whose middle name could have been Margaret), and I also could not find any restrictions about names on the guild site or the St. Margaret Chapel site. Is it an unwritten tradition, or what?

    3. Margaret is mt friend Geri’s 32nd great grandmother! I had to vote for her. I visited the castle in October and said hello to Margaret in her Chapel!

    4. According to the published genealogies I've seen of my paternal grandmother's family, I'm another descendant of St. Margaret. (Hi, cousins!) However, I'm named for my other grandmother, another Mary Margaret. Are girls whose middle name is Margaret allowed to be married in St. Margaret's chapel?

    1. I agree, Pailet. Margaret was all about helping the Scottish clans, building schools, hospitals, churches. Glad to see so many young people on here.

    2. Charles wasn't a terrible person and as Anglicans we owe him respect. However Margaret meets our modern ideas of who a saint is: someone who does their best for others.

      1. Charles also did his best for others. He was committed to living out his faith and taking seriously his duty as a king. He was concerned about the plight of his poor subjects and tried to protect them from the depredations of their landlords and he sought to improve the spiritual, moral, and educational life of his nation. When faced with bitter malice and senseless hatred, he stood by his conscience and convictions to his death, defending the faith he had received and cherished.

        1. Good point, Daniel. In reading Megan Castellan's blurb, I realized that Charles wasn't as bad as he's been made out to be.
          And since at this point (9:30 a.m. in California) he's losing terribly, I'll vote for him.

          1. I was just thinking, "Is there anybody on this forum who will admit to voting for Charles?

        2. Yes, Although Margaret did the goodly things, Charles did the most difficult. Often the big picture doesn't reveal enough of the strains and tests that people are under. I was moved to vote for Charles for his conviction and faith in face of a fearful, frustrated people.

        1. Margaret was Catholic, not a Protestant! Charles' farther King James was Anglican and the heir of Elizabeth I if I remember my English history.

    3. Good to hear from you, Pailet! We are doing Lent Madness at my school. Say hello to your parents for me!

  2. I got to go with Margaret she improved the lives and worked to help people instead of just enjoying her throne like some monarchs of the day.

    1. Charles was not allowed to raise taxes by the Puritan-controlled Parliament that refused to work with him even before his father's body was cold - even when the government needed money desperately to defend the nation in war.

      1. sounds like some current politicians might be able to relate. I would invite them to vote, but could we trust them to vote only once 🙂

  3. I'm the third Margaret in my family (two great-grandmothers were also named Margaret Katherine, so this one is easy. I've also been to Margaret's chapel in Edinburgh Castle. But if I had no biases, I'd still go with Margaret. She's a winner!

  4. Margaret of Scotland. How could I not vote for the true patron saint of Lent Madness? Also, her devotion, literacy, and charitable works are impressive. Charles, I think, was responsible for political chaos and its resulting destruction. Nevertheless, I'm thankful to him for preserving the historic episcopate, for appointing William Laud as ABC, and for their reforms, especially the vestments and and the altar rail.

    1. Charles was not responsible for political chaos and destruction. He stood and died for the traditional constitutional order of his realms against theocratic barbarians who brought death and destruction wherever they went.

  5. I have prayed in St. Margaret's chapel in Edinburgh Castle. Even though I consider myself a liturgist, I am far more moved by Margaret's passion for social justice.

  6. President of the St. Margaret of Scotland Chapter of the DOK at Church of the Epiphany, Miami Lakes, FL. Who else could I vote for?

  7. As a historian of 17th century England, I always find it hard to take Charles seriously as a saint. He was deeply committed to an anti-Calvinist theology, and it could be argued that he was willing to die for that. But there was no generosity of spirit, he made no effort to help others. However, his policies sent a bunch of people to Boston (Plymouth was before his time), so we can be grateful for that.

    1. Amen, Susan. Despite the fact that my church, St. John's , in Johnson City, Tennessee, has a stained glass window of Charles, I have always considered him a political rather than a religious martyr. I'm sorry he lost his head , but Margaret has my vote for her generosity of spirit.

      1. Amen again, Susan, and amen, Isabel. Charles??? Now, Edward the Confessor...that’s a kingly saint and saintly king. So is Margaret. No contest!

    2. Boston . . . where they set up a Puritan theocracy every bit as intolerant as the regime that drove them out of England. More positively, Charles allowed the Roman Catholic Lord Baltimore to found the colony of Maryland, named for his Queen Henrietta Maria and, for the first time, embodying religious tolerance in its charter as a founding principle.

    3. I suspect there have been some lacunae in your studies if you think that S. Charles had no "generosity of spirit." Even his enemies admitted that he was a pious and faithful man, a loving husband and father.

    4. Some of us can be grateful. There are a few who I'd readily cut loose from that constraint... those of us that were already in place before the loud, grabbby, wimpy people in weird floppy hats showed up.

    5. Thank you, Susan, for your input. I am also a historian -- focus on different times/places -- and I'm glad to have your confirmation of my opinion of Charles.

  8. No struggle for me. Margaret all the way. I loved the chapel at Edinburgh Castle. A simple, prayerful place, even withe the throngs of tourists.

  9. As a fan of folks who RAISE taxes and thankful for the work of Laud - my vote is for Charles I. But I know I am swimming against the tide today. Margaret is more worthy.

  10. This is a tough one. Obviously, Margaret is known to us today for all the good things she did without any "opposition research" available to counter it. Charles is not nearly so lucky, since his role in history is much better known, examined, pored over, and debated by both supporters and enemies. But maybe it comes down to which saint has had more influence on our lives, worship, and living faith today, and for that reason, I need to vote for Charles.

    1. I am a descendent of Sir Thomas Lawrence and in our family tree are many John Lawrences. Your name caught my eye and I wonder if you are a someone who should be in our tree?

    2. My thoughts exactly. Margaret was a great woman, but our tradition owes much to
      Charles I. He got my vote

  11. As a DOK of the St. Margaret, Queen of Scotland chapter, Margaret is my choice. But also, she was truly worthy of saintly status as so nicely explained by Ms. Fox. I was also fortunate to pray in her chapel at Edinburgh Castle.

  12. Margaret helped build schools, orphanages, and hospitals, throughout Scotland i mean that is amazing where Charles didn't really do anything

    1. We agree Mason! As your fifth grade teacher I must say that while your comment was well written in thought and purpose, there are a few conventions you missed. Can you guess what they are? I'd give you an A. Seriously, myself and your classmates think you're pretty terrific! Margaret for sure!

      1. Mrs. Casey,
        Please take this not as criticism, but as a teaching moment, for I am sure you are a wonderful teacher. I also believe that if someone does not know what an intensive or reflexive pronoun is, the word myself should not be part of his or her vocabulary. My daughter, who believes that English is a changing language, would not agree with me. Myself should not be used as a subject pronoun, so your enthusiastic last statement should be revised as “Seriously, your classmates and I think....
        (Former English teachers never retire; we just mutter endlessly about how we do not accept changes in the English language.)

        1. Agree: "myself" is not a subject pronoun but always reflexive. Additional quibble: holding out an A as a bribe is a suspect pedagogical strategy; satisfaction of mastery should be the goal. But my destrier is tugging on the reins. Let us sinners continue to trot toward Canterbury. The ride is young. Peace be to us all, say me, myself, and I.

          1. As a copy and features editor in my younger days, I would have revised "myself and your classmates" as well. I would not quibble with offering an improved grade on what seems to be a class assignment, though, because grades are both assessments of mastery and incentives, too. High schools across the country are now using a mathematics teaching model in which the students can raise their scores on their "skills checks" by a specified number of points by identifying their errors and correcting them. If a working fifth-grade teacher cannot judge accurately whether her 10- and 11-year-old pupils are sufficiently motivated by "mastery of the goal," I don't know who can. Heck, I'm 55, and I'm not always motivated purely by the desire to master my many goals. Good for you, Mrs. Casey, for encouraging a good student to go just a little bit further!

          2. Since there are no more "reply" buttons, I'll "reply" to myself: Is this an actual class assignment in "real time"? If so, A) how fun and creative, but also B) perhaps evaluative remarks (of students' work) could be made in a separate (and private) medium. I know this to be an inclusive and supportive group, but to ensure that no one's feelings get hurt, maybe this is a good instance where the reflective and thinking process could go here but the summative and corrective process could take place in a more structured and protected environment. I assume everyone here is a pilgrim, including my faithful palfrey, who is more interested in grain than in grammar. I hope everyone arrives at Easter strengthened by the communal journey and enlivened by the buoyant, spiritual, sometimes ironic (even wry) conversation along the way. With Thecla's goldfish in mind, I suggest, humbly, that one way to protect the goldfish is by not bringing the glass bowl along in the first place, because it's going to get broken when someone stumbles. How can I express this clearly? While a pilgrimage encompasses the world, maybe structuring others' experience so that a little less of "the world" impinges on them would be a thoughtful and responsible act of caritas, not just for one's charges but for us all. I offer prayerfully the suggestion that "people" (adults and children alike) post their thinking and their votes but that any grade be treated separately in a designated environment devoted to that function, to respect (all our) privacy and intellectual growth. (That's been edited about 1 MM times; that's the best I can do.) I wish a safe and wondrous pilgrimage to all.

          1. One of my very favorite moments in life - receiving the gift of a t-shirt sporting my relentless mindset - "I'm Silently Correcting Your Grammar."

      2. And here I thought Mrs. Casey was poking a bit of gentle fun, recognizing her student's work and encouraging it. I hope she knows how Mason will receive it, and proceeded accordingly. Now Mason can do the same in return, but perhaps in a more forgiving forum.

  13. Margaret for me. Looking after the needs of the people rather than taking them to civil war is important. I appreciate that Charles sponsored some reform of the church but if vestments and altar rails are the pinnacle of his achievements then I don't know how important they were.

    1. He was offered the choice to keep his life and his throne if he abolished the episcopate and the sacramental order of the Church. He refused, and it cost him his life. Had he given in, then Anglicanism as we know it would not exist.

      1. I am not sure that Puritanism can be reduced to our contemporary category of "fundamentalism." Fundamentalists typically do not reflect on and consider the various merits of opposing points of view, or on how they can be wrong:
        Is it therefore infallibly agreeable to the Word of God, all that you say? I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken. Precept may be upon precept, line may be upon line, and yet the Word of the Lord may be to some a Word of Judgment; that they may fall backward and be broken, and be snared and be taken!
        The Lord give you and us understanding to do that which is well-pleasing in His sight. Committing you to the grace of God, I rest,
        Your humble servant,

      2. Daniel, I have to agree with you on Charles and the impact his actions had on the church of today. That's why I voted for him. This is my second year of Lent Madness and the madness is our ability to make those tough decisions especially when they are both deserving. I like to take the time to look behind the scenes and then it's still a tough call. I love what I am learning! We can't always feel good.

  14. Day 2 and I'm already not sure how I feel about these contrived pairings!
    Charles I may have contributed to saving the episcopate, but he was a tyrannical ruler whose actions were justified by his fervid belief in the divine right of kings. If it were not for coming up with the gimmick of theme pairings, I can't imagine him being seriously considered for a Golden Halo.

    1. I feel like this year doesn't have enough contrived pairings. No brother vs brother, only one play on the saints' names. They really need to step it up next year.

    2. That is false. Charles was in no way a "tyrant." Every action he took was in accordance with the constitution of his realm and the traditional prerogatives of the Crown, which he was forced to exercise because the Puritan-dominated Parliament refused to cooperate with him, putting their own power and ambition over the good of the nation. The 'divine right of kings" is a myth made up by later Whig historians. Charles believed that he had a divine right and, more importantly, a divine responsibility to his realms and his subjects to serve them to the best of his ability; Parliament also had a divine right and a divine responsibility to aid and support the King in governing the country and enacting laws. Charles died faithful to his right and his responsibility; Parliament abandoned both.