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Gruoch of Scotland

Queen and wife of mac bethad mac findlaích
The basics
Date of birth
Date of death 1100
Children: Lulach
Father: Boite mac Cináeda
Spouse: Macbeth, King of Scotland Gille Coemgáin of Moray
The details

Gruoch ingen Boite (fl. 1020–1054) was a Scottish queen, the daughter of Boite mac Cináeda, son of Cináed III. She is most famous for being the wife and queen of MacBethad mac Findlaích (Macbeth). The dates of her life are not certainly 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 in a hall with 50 of his men. The next year one of her male relatives, probably her only brother, was murdered by Malcolm II.

Gruoch is named with Boite and also with MacBethad in charters endowing the Culdee monastery at Loch Leven. The date of her death is not known.

In fiction

  • Gruoch is the model for the character Lady Macbeth in William Shakespeare's play Macbeth.
  • She is the heroine of Gordon Bottomley's 1921 verse drama "Gruach," in which the King's Envoy (i.e. Macbeth) sees her sleepwalking on the eve of her marriage to another man, falls in love with her and carries her off. The play mentions her claim to the throne.
  • She appears, named Groa, as a major character in Dorothy Dunnett's 1982 novel of Macbeth, King Hereafter, which topped the New York Times bestseller list.
  • Susan Fraser King wrote Lady Macbeth, a 1982 historical novel about Gruach. King asserts that the book is as deeply rooted in fact as possible.
  • Gruoch also appears as the wife of Macbeth, King of Scotland and the mother of Lulach in Jackie French's children's novel Macbeth and Son, published in 2006.
  • Gloria Carreño's 2009 play A Season Before the Tragedy of Macbeth premiered by British Touring Shakespeare 2010, also sheds new light on Gruach Macduff, the central character. The play considers events up to the opening of the letter from the three witches in Shakespeare's tragedy.
  • In David Greig's 2010 play Dunsinane, she is known as Gruach and outlives Macbeth.


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