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House of Wessex - King Harold II

House of Normandy >>

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King Harold II
Name: King Harold II
Father: Godwin, Earl of Wessex
Mother: Gytha of Denmark
Born: c.1020
Ascended to the throne: January 5, 1066
Crowned: January 6, 1066 at Westminster Abbey, aged c.43
Married:(1) Ealdyth widow of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn
Married (2): Eadgyth (Swan-neck), Daughter of Earl of Mercia
Children: 1 or 2 sons and several illegitimate children
Died: October 14, 1066 at Senlac Abbey, Sussex, of wounds following the Battle of Hastings
Buried at: Pevensey reburied Waltham Abbey

Last Anglo-Saxon king of England, January to October 1066. He was defeated and killed by William of Normandy (William the Conqueror) at the Battle of Hastings.

Harold succeeded his father Earl Godwine in 1053 as Earl of Wessex.. He had no bloodline to the throne but his sister Edith was married to King Edward the Confessor. In January 1066 when Edward died childless, the Witan (a council of high-ranking religious and secular men) elected Harold to succeed him and one day later he was crowned King Harold II. William of Normandy claimed that he had been promised the thone by his relative Edward and that in 1063 Harold had sworn allegiance to support his claim. On hearing of Harold's coronation William prepared to invade England to claim the throne.

Meanwhile, Harold's brother Tostig who had quarrelled with Harold joined the king of Norway Harald Hardrada in invading Northumbria. Harold routed and killed them at Stamford Bridge, near York, on 25 September. Three days later William landed at Pevensey, Sussex, and Harold and his army marched quickly South to face him. The Battle of Hastings took place on 14 October 1066. Harold's army was defeated and he was killed leaving the way open for William to march on London.



 Harold Godwinson becomes King Harold II 


 Harold II fights his brother Tostig and a Viking force under Harold Hadrada and defeats them at Stamford Bridge. He hastily marches South at the news that William Duke of Normandy with 100 ships has landed at Pevensey Bay and marched into Sussex. 


 Harold II is killed at the Battle of Hastings according to legend with an arrow through his eye. 


 Edgar the Aethling, grandson of Edmund II is elected King, but rules for only a few weeks before submitting to William of Normandy 

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