Edward the Confessor-------------------William I

England: The Saxon Period

c. 600 to 1066 A.D.

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Harold II: 5th January - 14th October 1066

Harold was born circa 1020. His parents were Earl Godwine of Wessex and Cytha, a Danish princess. Their's was the most powerful family in Saxon England. He married: Ealgith, daughter of the Earl of Mercia and widow of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn.

The man with the best hereditary claim to the Crown upon Edward the Confessor's death was Edgar the Atheling, grandson of Edmund Ironside (and brother-in law of Malcolm III, King of Scots). He stood little chance however. Harold was the man in possession, he had a proven record, and he was unanimously approved by the Witan.

Other claimants proved more formidable. They included King Harold Hardrada of Norway, supported by King Harold's brother, Tostig. They invaded Northumbria but were defeated and killed by Harold at Stamford Bridge near York on 25 September 1066.

Three days later another claimant, Duke William of Normandy, landed in Sussex. He maintained that Harold had recognized him as heir to the Crown when shipwrecked in Normandy in 1064. Marching rapidly south, Harold confronted him at Senlac Hill, near Hastings, and was killed in battle.

He was buried at Pevensey Bay, later allegedly removed to Waltham Abbey by Edith Swan-neck.

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