Duncan I (1034-40)

According to William Shakespeare, Duncan was a kindly old king murdered in his bed by the villainous Macbeth, but what was the real story? Duncan’s grandfather had ruled Scotland for nearly thirty years but the reign had ended with dynastic conflict. Would Duncan prove the wise king of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, or was the reality of history rather less glorious. Listen to his podcast episode here or read on to find out more.

Duncan in Shakespeare's Macbeth, portrayed by David Thewlis

Duncan in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, portrayed by David Thewlis

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Malcolm II (1005-34)

The Scottish monarchy was thrown into crisis and civil war when Kenneth II, having tried to ensure that the succession would pass from father to son, was killed in 995. After ten years of conflict, Kenneth’s son, Malcolm II, has finally become king, but was it worth the wait? To find out how Malcolm II fared as king, listen to his podcast episode here or read on to find out more.

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Cuilean (967-71)

Cuilean was the instigator in a dynastic conflict that beset the Scottish monarchy at the end of the tenth century. As the rival lines descended from Kenneth MacAlpin came into conflict, Cuilean took the throne from Dubh, but would he be able to keep it?  To find out how he fares, you can listen to his podcast here or read on to find out more.

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Malcolm I (943-54)

Malcolm I had the unenviable task of following the long reign of Constantine II in a period when the Saxons were expanding and the Vikings had a new champion in Erik Bloodaxe. The Battle of Brunanburh in 937 was supposed to bring to an end the conflict around York in northern England, but the death of Athelstan just two years later launched a decade of conflict in what Michael Wood has dubbed a “Dark Age Vietnam”. Constantine II managed British politics to Scotland’s advantage but could Malcolm I enjoy the same success? Listen to the podcast episode here or read on to find out more.
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Constantine II (900-43)

In 900, the idea of Scotland as nation state was still very much in the fruition. The last four monarchs had died by violent means, Viking raiders were on the rampage while the rise of an increasingly imperial Anglo-Saxon England under Athelstan threatened to reduce Scotland to a vassal state. The reign of Constantine II, therefore, was a make or break for Scotland and perhaps the most significant in its formation as a country. Listen to the podcast episode here or read on to find out more.

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Donald II (889-900)

After the brief interruption of Giric and/or Eochaid, the Alpin dynasty was back on the Scottish throne in the form of Donald II. On the in-tray of the new monarch was a clash between Pictish and Gaelic figures at court and the always ominous return of the Vikings. Listen to the podcast episode here or read on to find out more.

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Giric and/or Eochaid

The assassination of King Aed in 878 suggested that the Scottish kingdom was in turmoil after a decade of Viking raids but even the chroniclers seem to have been confused about what happened next. Was Giric king? Or was it Eochaid? Or maybe both! We take a look at what was going on and try to work out who was really king. Listen to the podcast episode here or read on for more information.

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Constantine I

A by no means contemporary portrait of Constantine I

Constantine I

Constantine I had the misfortune to come to the throne at a period of peak Viking, with the likes of Olaf the White, Ivar the Boneless and the Great Heathen Army swarming across the kingdoms of Ireland, England and Scotland. Kingdoms were falling and kings brutally murdered all across Britain but could Constantine find a way to survive?

Listen to Constantine I’s podcast episode here or read on to find out more.

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Kenneth MacAlpin

Kenneth MacAlpin is traditionally seen as the first King of Scots, unifying the northern kingdoms against the Vikings and establishing a new nation in the process. However, the truth is a little more nuanced and involves a host of disputed events including warfare, skulduggery, lost animals and a curious smell of fish. So, just who was Kenneth MacAlpin and does he have the Rex Factor? Read our latest blog to find out and vote in our poll to give your verdict.

Click here to listen to the podcast of Kenneth MacAlpin

Click here to listen to the podcast of Kenneth MacAlpin

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Scottish Backgroundy Stuff

Welcome to a brand new series of Rex Factor! After reviewing all of England’s monarchs, we’re now setting our sights on the Kings and Queens of Scots, reviewing all the monarchs from Kenneth MacAlpin to James VI and deciding who among them is worthy of the Rex Factor. Before we start our reviewing, however, we started the series with a backgroundy episode, looking at Scottish history from the earliest settlers to the age of the Vikings.

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