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Queen of Alba
SpouseGille Coemgáin, Mormaer of Moray
Macbeth, King of Alba
IssueLulach, King of Alba
FatherBoite mac Cináeda

Gruoch ingen Boite (fl. 1020 – 1054) was a Scottish queen, the daughter of Boite mac Cináeda, son of Cináed III.[1] She is most famous for being the wife and queen of MacBethad mac Findlaích (Macbeth). The dates of her life are uncertain.


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.[2] The next year one of her male relatives, probably her only brother, was murdered by Malcolm II.[3]

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[edit]

  • Gruoch is the model for the character Lady Macbeth in William Shakespeare's play Macbeth.
  • The Scottish historical fiction series, The Celtic Blood by Melanie Karsak, centers around Gruoch's life, giving a fictional depiction of what her life could have been like.
  • 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.
  • Grouch appeared in Nigel Tranter’s MacBeth the King as Macbeth’s co-ruler and a major character.
  • Gruoch appears in the 1990s TV series Gargoyles. She is seen in flashbacks pertaining to Macbeth, who is a recurring antagonist in the series. This version of Gruoch is based on the historical figure and bears little resemblance to the literary Lady Macbeth.
  • Susan Fraser King wrote Lady Macbeth, a 1982 historical novel about Gruoch, whose name she spelt as Gruadh. King asserts that the book is as deeply rooted in fact as possible. Gruadh also appeared in Susan Fraser King’s another novel, Queen Hereafter, about Margaret of Wessex and a fictional illegitimate daughter of King Lulach.
  • 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.


  1. ^ It is not entirely certain that the Cináed father of Boite was Cináed mac Duib rather than Kenneth II. Both possibilities are admitted by Duncan, p. 345, table A, although most sources, e.g. Woolf, favour Cináed mac Duib.
  2. ^ Annals of Ulster, s.a. 1032.
  3. ^ Marshall, Rosalind K. (2003). Scottish Queens, 1034–1714. Tuckwell Press. p. 4.


Preceded by
Queen consort of Alba
c. 1040–1057
Succeeded by
Ingibiorg Finnsdottir