Gruoch
A engraving depicting of Gruoch seeking help from Macbeth, created c. the 19th century.
Queen consort of Alba
Tenure14 August 1040 – 15 August 1057
Bornc. 1015
Diedunknown
SpouseGille Coemgáin, Mormaer of Moray
Macbeth, King of Scotland
IssueLulach, King of Scotland
HouseAlpin
FatherBoite mac Cináeda

Gruoch ingen Boite (fl. c. 1015 – unknown) was a Scottish queen, the daughter of Boite mac Cináeda, son of Cináed II.[1] She is most famous for being the wife and queen of MacBethad mac Findlaích (Macbeth), as well as being the inspiration behind Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare's Macbeth. The dates of her life are uncertain.

Life

Gruoch is believed to have been born 1015 or before, the daughter of Boite mac Cináeda; her mother's name is not known. Before 1032 Gruoch was married to Gille Coemgáin mac Maíl Brigti, Mormaer of Moray, with whom she had at least one son, Lulach mac Gille Coemgáin, later King of Scots. Gille Coemgáin was killed in 1032, burned to death in a hall with 50 of his men.[2] After the death of Gille Coemgáin, Gruoch married her husband's cousin, Macbeth. Macbeth may have been responsible for Gille Coemgáin's death, and certainly benefited from it, becoming Mormaer of Moray himself. It is unclear if Macbeth married Gruoch as an ally succoring the widow of a kinsman, or as a conqueror claiming the widow of an enemy. The next year one of her male relatives, probably her only brother, was murdered by Malcolm II.[3]

Macbeth killed King Duncan I in 1040 and succeeded him to become King of Alba.[4] Gruoch became his queen. In grants made to the church of St Serf they are identified as "Machbet filius Finlach…et Gruoch filia Bodhe, rex et regina Scottorum", king and queen of Scots.[5] Gruoch and Macbeth did not have any children, however, Macbeth did accept her son, Lulach, as his heir. Lulach is sometimes mistakenly identified as Macbeth's son, when in fact he was his step-son. Macbeth died 15 August 1057, and Lulach succeeded him to become king of Scots. It is not known what became of Gruoch or even if she survived Macbeth. Her date of death is not known. Fictional accounts tell of her death by suicide the same year Macbeth died, however, there are no valid sources supporting this.

Gruoch is named with Boite and also with MacBethad in charters endowing the Culdee monastery at Loch Leven.

In fiction

Notes

  1. ^ It is not entirely certain that the Cináed father of Boite was Cináed mac Duib rather than Kenneth II. Both possibilities are admitted by Duncan, p. 345, table A, although most sources, e.g. Woolf, favour Cináed mac Duib.
  2. ^ Annals of Ulster, s.a. 1032.
  3. ^ Marshall, Rosalind K. (2003). Scottish Queens, 1034–1714. Tuckwell Press. p. 4.
  4. ^ Scottish Kings: A Revised Chronology of Scottish History, 1005-1625 by Sir Archibald Hamilton Dunbar p. 18
  5. ^ Early Scottish Charters V, p. 5.

References