Edward King of England
- Born: 1003
- Died: 5 Jan 1066, London, England aged 63
- Buried: Westminster Abbey, London, England
Another name for Edward was The Confessor.
Extract from "The Dukes of Normandy, from the time of Rollo to the expulsion of King John by Philip Augustus of France" by Jonathan Duncan (1839)
Canute died in the same year in which William, seventh Duke of Normandy, succeeded to the ducal crown, expiring on the 12th of November 1035.
By his mistress Alaine, daughter of the Earl of Hampton, he left two sons Harold and Sweyn; by his wife Emma, widow of Ethelred, King of England, and sister of Richard the Second, fourth Duke of Normandy, Hardi-Canute, and a daughter, named Gonilda, who was married to the Emperor, Henry the Third. Between these children, without distinction of legitimacy, he divided his three kingdoms. Sweyn received Norway, Hardi-Canute Denmark, and Harold, England, an arrangement directly violating his marriage-contract with the widow of Ethelred, which stipulated that his children by Emma, and her children by Ethelred, should inherit his dominions, to the exclusion of his offspring not born in wedlock.
Harold the First, King of England, died on the 14th of April 1039. He was succeeded by his younger brother, Hardi-Canute, King of Denmark, who died in 1041.
Saxon line of princes, and Godwin, whose ambition was insatiable, skilfully availed himself of the popular feeling. He convened the principal nobility at London, and proposed that Edward, son of Emma and Ethelred, should succeed to the vacant throne. This proposal exonerated him from the suspicion generally entertained among the leading men, of his having assassinated Alfred; it was hailed with applause, and the same ambition which murdered one brother, placed the crown on the head of another.
Godwin offered his daughter Edith in marriage to Edward. Edith was an accomplished, beautiful and discreet princess, but Edward never used the privilege of a husband; on the contrary, he confined his wife in a nunnery. It thus became certain that on the death of the king, there would be no direct heir to the throne, and the ambitious sons of Godwin speculated on this contingency.
In 1051, William of Normandy passed over to England to visit Edward the Confessor, by whom he was graciously received. This interview between Edward and William had, no doubt, a great influence on future events, and it may reasonably be presumed that the Duke of Normandy was then promised the succession to the English throne, either by the reigning monarch himself, or indirectly through some of the Norman courtiers, who enjoyed the unreserved confidence of Edward.
On the 5th of January 1066, Edward the Confessor died, and was buried at Westminster. Harold, son of Earl Godwin, lost not a moment in seizing on the throne. As soon as the king was buried, he caused himself to be proclaimed his successor. He was crowned by Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury.
Extract from "BBC History"
Edward the Confessor (c. 1003 - 1066)
Edward, the penultimate Anglo-Saxon king of England, was known as 'the Confessor' because of his deep piety.
Edward was the son of Ethelred II 'the Unready' and Emma, the daughter of Richard I of Normandy. The family was exiled in Normandy after the Danish invasion of 1013, but returned the following year and negotiated Ethelred's reinstatement. After Ethelred's death in 1016 the Danes again took control of England. Edward lived in exile until 1041, when he returned to the London court of his half brother, Hardecanute. He became king in 1042.
Much of his reign was peaceful and prosperous. Skirmishes with the Scots and Welsh were only occasional and internal administration was maintained. The financial and judicial systems were efficient and trade was good. However, Edward's introduction to court of some Norman friends prompted resentment, particularly in the houses of Mercia and Wessex, which both held considerable power.
For the first 11 years of Edward's reign the real ruler of England was Godwine, Earl of Wessex. Edward married Godwine's daughter Edith in 1045, but this could not prevent a breach between the two men in 1049. Two years later, with the support of Leofric of Mercia, Edward outlawed Godwine and his family. However, Edward's continued favouritism caused problems with his nobles and in 1052 Godwine and his sons returned. The magnates were not prepared to engage them in civil war and forced the king to make terms. Godwine's lands were returned to him and many of Edward's Norman favourites were exiled.
When Godwine died in 1053, his son Harold took over. It was he, rather than Edward, who subjugated Wales in 1063 and negotiated with the rebellious Northumbrians in 1065. Consequently, shortly before his death, Edward named Harold as his successor even though he may already have promised the crown to a distant cousin, William, Duke of Normandy. He died on 4 January 1066 and was buried in the abbey he had constructed at Westminster.