Also known as Donald Ban or Bane that is Donald 'the Fair'
King of Scots (1093-1094 and 1094-1097)
Born c. 1033 Died c. 1100

Donald was the son of Duncan ruler of Scotland until 1040 when he was deposed and killed by the famous Macbeth. Whereas Donald's older brother Malcolm went south to England and sought refuge at the court of Edward the Confessor, Donald was taken to Ireland. This made a significant difference to the upbringing of the two exiled princes; Malcolm was brought up in an English speaking environment subject to heavy Norman influence whilst Donald's youth was spent in a thoroughly Gaelic milieu.

It was Malcolm who would revenge their father's death. With the assistance of his uncle Siward he was able to establish himself in Scotland in 1054 and to finally defeat and kill Macbeth in 1057. Malcolm ruled until 1093 when he was killed in an ambush at Alnwick in Northumberland.

Malcolm was deeply unpopular with many in Scotland for granting land to his 'English' supporters, his adoption of 'foreign' manners and his introduction of alien Norman practices. Donald with his Gaelic Irish background was able to attract the support of this disaffected group of tribal traditionalists. When Malcolm's unexpected death in 1093 and that of his wife four days later afterwards created something of a crisis in the government of Scotland, Donald was able to exploit the crisis to his advantage.

Within days of Malcolm's death he was able to seize control of Edinburgh Castle forcing Malcolm's sons, to flee south to safety and acting to remove the influence of Malcolm's'foreign' allies.

As the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle says;

And then the Scots chose Malcolm's brother Donald as king and drove out all the English who were with the king Malcolm earlier

However Malcolm's eldest son Duncan, was already in England at the court of William II as hostage for his father's good behaviour. He approached William II for his help in regaining his father's kingdom. With the aid of English and Norman troops Duncan was therefore able to depose Donald and declare himself Duncan II.

However Duncan didn't last long, within a few months as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reports it;

the Scots trapped and killed Duncan, their king and afterwards for a second time took Donald, his paternal uncle, as their king, through whose instruction and instigation he was betrayed to death

Donald was therefore able to regain the throne, but cleverly established an alliance with another of Malcolm's sons, Edmund. They agreed to share the kingship; Donald ruled Scotland proper and Edmund governed Strathclyde and Lothian.

Unfortunately for Donald, Malcolm had an apparently inexaustible supply of sons. The next in line was Edgar, who in 1097 once gain with both the blessing of William II and an army under the leadership of his uncle and namesake Edgar Aetheling invaded Scotland and deposed both Donald and Edmund.

Edgar couldn't quite bring himself to kill his uncle, so he contented himself with having Donald blinded and imprisoned at Rescobie in Forfarshire. Donald lived for another two years before dying in 1099 and being buried at Dunkeld, although his body was later transferred to Iona.


Articles on Donald Bane

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