Glamis Castle: Birthplace and Residence of British Royalty in Scotland
Glamis Castle was the childhood home of the late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and the birthplace of Her Royal Highness the late Princess Margaret. The Queen Mother’s parents were both Lord and Lady Glamis and Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne. Glamis Castle has been the seat of the Lyon Family since 1372, and many larger than life figures have stayed at the castle, including Mary Queen of Scots and King James I. Today’s visitors tour the beautiful and historic state rooms, including the royal apartments of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth II’s parents), and hear the story of the murder of the Scottish King Malcolm III who died at that castle in 1034. He was succeeded by his son Malcolm who was, in turn, killed nearby in battle by his cousin Macbeth. Sound familiar? These local historical events inspired Shakespeare to make Glamis Castle the legendary home of Macbeth.
Glamis Castle is considered to be one of the most haunted castles in all of the United Kingdom. One of the specters who lives at the castle is a pageboy who sits outside the late Queen Mother’s sitting room. According to medieval legend, on one of the coldest nights of the year, everyone went to bed but forgot to dismiss the little boy from his seat. He supposedly froze to death there, and it’s said that his ghost frequents the spot and likes to trip people who walk by. Another ghostly tale at the castle involves a secret chamber in which the second Lord of Glamis and his enemy were playing cards and gambling all through the evening and late into the night. After being begged to stop by servants, who were worried that it was the Sabbath, the two lords supposedly brushed them off by saying, “if we have a mind to, we shall play until Doomsday”. The next morning a stranger appeared at the castle to confront them, and many claimed it was the devil himself who told them that “doomsday has come for both of you“ and took their souls. Tradition states that if you listen at the walls of the secret room at midnight on Saturdays you can hear the two lords crying and shuffling their fateful deck of cards. Perhaps, the most pitiful ghost at Glamis is the Grey Lady who is said to haunt the chapel. She was the wife of the sixth lord of the castle and died after being victimized by King James V of Scotland, who hated her family and wanted the castle for himself. The king had her two young sons imprisoned and had her tried for, convicted of, an executed for witchcraft. She was burned alive at the stake in 1537, and since then, has been seen entering, sitting, and praying in the castle’s chapel. The Grey Lady is the most frequently seen spirit at the castle.
Location of Glamis Castle
Glamis Castle is located just outside the village of Angus, Scotland, approximately 20 minutes from Dundee, 45 minutes from St. Andrews, or 1.5 hours from Edinburgh. If you’re traveling between Aberdeen and Edinburgh or if you’re spending time in St. Andrews, Glamis Castle makes an excellent stop or a lovely side trip for a few hours. For specific directions to Glamis, click the map below.