King Malcolm II
King Malcolm was for some time the most powerful man in the country. King Owen of the Britons of Strathclyde had died without issue, and Malcolm’s grandson, Duncan, was the rightful heir through marriage. The Four Kingdoms of Alba were finally united under one throne - and under Malcolm.
King Duncan I
Duncan was related to previous rulers through his mother Bethoc, daughter of Malcolm II. He became King in 1034. Defeated by the native English at Durham in 1040, he was a weak character and a poor leader. At a place called Bothganowan meaning "Blacksmith's Hut" in old Gaelic, (or Bothgofnane, Bothgofuane, or Bothgowan, today Pitgaveny near Elgin), his cousin, chief of the northern Scots defeated and killed Duncan, and took the kingship for himself.
The Mormaer of Moray, MacBeth (Mac Bethad mac Findláich,) claimed the throne on his own behalf and that of his wife Grauch, and formed an alliance with his cousin the Earl of Orkney. Respected for his strong leadership qualities, MacBeth was a wise king who ruled successfully for 17 years from a fortified castle at Dunsinane north of Perth. His rule was secure enough for him to go on a pilgrimage to Rome in 1050.
Duncan’s son Malcolm had fled to Northumbria after the defeat of his father and had never given up his claim to the throne. In 1054 with the support of Earl Siward, he led an army against MacBeth, and defeated him at the battle of Dunsinnan. MacBeth remained king, and restored Malcolm’s lands to him, but in 1057 at Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire on 15th August, Malcolm finally killed MacBeth and took the crown. He also married MacBeth’s widow.