arthacanute was the eldest son of Canute and his second wife Emma. When Canute died in November of 1035 Harathacanute was in Denmark and could not return to England because his claim to the (Danish/Norwegian ?) throne was being contested by Magnus I of Norway. Harthacanute appointed his mother Emma and Harold (I) Harefoot as regents to look after the affairs of England. Harold was also the son of Canute but by Canute's first marriage to Aelfgifu.
Harthacanute was delayed from returning to England and a dispute between Emma and Harold began as to who should rule the country. The Earl Godwine sided with Harold and in 1036 Harold was proclaimed as sole Regent. At this point Emma called to her sons in Normandy for assistance. Albert, one of her sons arrived in England and was promptly murdered possibly by the Earl Godwine. Emma took refuge in Bruges. Harold died in March of 1040, and the death may not have been natural. In June of the same year, Harthacanute landed in England with a suitably large fleet and claimed back the English throne.
Harthacanute raised taxes to help pay for the defence of his large kingdom which included Denmark. Opposed to the increases a revolt started around Worcester and Harthacanute dealt with the rebels without mercy. Overall, Harthacanute was not a popular king, and when he died in 1042 the Saxon Edward the Confessor was chosen as his successor.