Edward (The Confessor, King of England 1042-1066)

 Born  circa 1003   Born At  Islip, Oxfordshire
 Died  c. 4 Jan 1066   Buried At  Westminster Abbey
 Father  Aethelred (II The Unready, King of the English 978-1013, 1014-1016)   Mother  
Preceded by  HARTHACNUT (King of England 1040-1042) Succeeded by  HAROLD (II, Godwinson, King of England 1066)
 Royal House   Wessex

Titles Include

King of England from 1042 to 1066

dward was a Saxon. His father was Aethelred (or Ethelred), the Unready and his mother was Emma, Aethelred's second wife. He had a brother called Alfred. Emma was the daughter of Richard, Duke of Normandy.

This simplified family tree show Edward's ancestors and his relationship to William the Conqueror.

                                                
 
 
 
 Richard (I, Count of Normandy)   Gunnor 
   
   
 
                                 
 
Richard (II, Duke of Normandy)   Judith (1)
Aethelred (II The Unready, King of the English 978-1013, 1014-1016)

b.967
d.1016
   Emma (of Normandy, Wife of Aethelred)
b.982
d.1052
   (2)
Canute (King of England 1016-1035)

b.995
d.1035
 
     
     
 
       
 
Robert (I, Duke of Normandy 1027-35)
d.1035
   Herleva Edward (The Confessor, King of England 1042-1066)
b.1003
d.1066
 HARTHACNUT (King of England 1040-1042)
b.1018
d.1042
 
    
    
 
   
 
William (I, the Conqueror, King of England 1066-1087)
b.1028
d.1087
 
 
 
 

Early years in Normandy

The Danes, led by Swein Fork-Beard and his son Canute, had been attacking England since 994 and in 1013 finally took control of the Danelaw area. Aethelred accepted defeat and fled to Normandy with Emma, Edward and their other children. In Normandy Alfred and Edward were brought up as Norman princes and learnt Norman ways and customs. Swein's control of England was short-lived as he died in February of 1014. Swein had specified that his son Canute should become King of England after his death, but the Witan council sent a message to Aethelred in exile asking him to return. Athelstan sent messengers to England along with Edward to discuss terms for his return. Athelstan did return and Canute left England for Denmark where he was needed to ensure his rule there. Athelstan reigned until 1016 to be followed by his son Edmund (Ironside). Edmund died in the same year and the English throne was taken by the Dane Canute and then by his son Harthacanute.

Becomes King of England

In 1042 Harthacanute died without providing a male heir. This opened the way for Edward to become King and the return of the Saxons.

Earl Godwine

Edward's control of the country was shared with the powerful Earl Godwine of Wessex. The Godwine family of Wessex had become a powerful force in the court of Edward the Confessor and Edward even married Earl Godwin's daughter Edith. In 1051 an incident occurred when Eustace II of Boulogne visited Edward the Confessor, his brother-in-law. The incident occurred in Dover where a fight broke out between the Norman visitors and the locals. Several people were killed. The area of Dover was under the control of the Godwine family and Edward the Confessor, who blamed the villagers for the fight, told Godwine to deal with them. Godwine refused to obey Edward's order and in response Edward raised an army and forced the Godwine family into exile. It is possible that Edward's expulsion of the Godwine family, and a promise sent to William Duke of Normandy to become the next king of England, was a need to free himself from the Godwine family and their attempts to take the English throne. At this time Edward sent Godwine's youngest son and grandson to Normandy as hostages in case the Godwines tried to return.

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Partial Personal Timeline

YearMonthAgeEvent
1003   Edward the Confessor is born
 Edward the Confessor is thought to have been born sometime between 1003 and 1005 at Islip in Oxfordshire. His father was Aethelred II, the Unready, and his mother was Emma of Normandy, daughter of Robert I, Earl of Normandy.[1] 
1013 Autumn  10yrsEmma and Edward leave England
 Forced to leave England by the invasion from Denmark, Emma Aethelred's wife, fled to Normandy assisted by the Bishop of Peterborough. Sons Edward (the Confessor) and Alfred followed later along with the Bishop of London. Ethelred was not far behind.

Episode: Viking Invasions  
1014 Feb 3  11yrsSwein dies
 Swein Fork-Beard died. Canute left England not sure of his ability to hold the country but returned a year later. Aethelred sent ambassadors to England, including his own son Edward (later the Confessor) to negotiate a possible return.[2]

Episode: Viking Invasions  
1036   33yrsAlfred is murdered by Godwine
 Both Edward the Confessor and Alfred, his younger brother, came to England at different times during this year to try and take back the English throne. Edward's attempt failed. Some time later Alfred landed in England but his army was met by Earl Godwine and was defeated. Alfred was captured and killed by the Earl. 
1041   38yrsEdward the Confessor returns to England
 After a long exile at the Norman court Edward the Confessor returned to England. Harthacanute had no wife or heir so had invited Edward to return as Edward had the right to claim the English throne.[3] 
1042 Jun 8  39yrsHarthacanute dies and Edward the Confessor becomes King
 Harthacanute collapsed while attending a party and died shortly afterwards. He died without an heir and so the crown reverted back to the Saxons and Edward the Confessor was crowned King of England at Easter of 1043 at Winchester. After the death of Harthacanute Magnus took control in Denmark.

Episode: Viking Invasions  
1043   40yrsStigand become bishop of Elmham
 Shortly after Edward the Confessor became King, Stigand was promoted to the position of bishop. 
 Easter  Edward the Confessor crowned
 Edward the Confessor was crowned at Winchester on Easter day. 
 Nov  Edward confiscated Emma's land
 Edward learnt that his mother Emma was plotting with Dane Magnus of Norway to take control of the English throne. Edward had no choice and stripped his mother of her land and treasure. Emma was allowed to stay in England until her death. 
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