King Harold of England


King Harold's sister, Edith of Wessex, had married King Edward the Confessor in 1045. He reigned over England 1042-1066.

Harold and Edith were obscurely related through their mother, Gytha, to King Canute (1016-1035), as Gytha's brother married Canute's sister. She was their aunt by marriage, with Canute referred to as an "uncle".

At Edward's death, according to William the Conqueror's Domesday Book (a book of "Judgment" of all England) Edith was reputed to be the richest lady in all the land.

Harold (her brother) was then defeated and killed by William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

Some Background.

King Edward's mother, Emma of Normandy (984-1052) was great aunt to William the Conqueror. She was the sister of William's grandfather (Richard II of Normandy).

King Edward's father, Ethelred, Ethelred the Unready (poorly advised) reigned 978-1016.

During his reign he married Emma of Normandy in 1002 when she was a young lady.

Towards the end of his life (and reign) he had to flee temporarily to Normandy when Sweyn Forkbeard (1013-1014) of Denmark invaded England, followed by his son Canute.

Upon Ethelred's death in England in 1016, his reign was followed by King Canute of Denmark 1016-1035. Canute married Ethelred's widow, Emma of Normandy in 1017. Emma's son Edward appears to have continued to live with his relatives in Normandy, not returning to England until 1036 after Canute's death.

King Canute's reign was followed by the reign of his two sons (Harold Harefoot in 1035 and Harthacnut in 1040) before King Edward retook the throne in 1042.

Edward and his wife Edith had no children, and it appears at one stage Edward promised the throne to William, son of his cousin (Richard III of Normandy).

However his brother-in-law Harold took the throne upon his death, leading to the Norman invasion.

** End of Notes