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King Harold II (1066)

Name: King Harold II
Born: c.1020
Parents: Godwin, Earl of Wessex, and Gytha of Denmark
Relation to Charles III: husband of the 31st great-grandmother
House of: Wessex
Ascended to the throne: January 5, 1066
Crowned: January 6, 1066 at Westminster Abbey, aged c.43
Married: (1) Eadgyth (Swan-neck), Daughter of Earl of Mercia (2) Ealdyth widow of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn
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
Reigned for: 9 months, 8 days
Succeeded by: Edgar the Aethling, and then Edward the Confessor's 2nd cousin William of Normandy

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 (or Witenagemot 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 throne 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 in the battle.

The Witan elected 15 year-old Edgar the Aethling, a grandson of King Edmund II Ironside, as the next Anglo-Saxon King. However he was the uncrowned King for only a few weeks from 15 October to 10 December 1066 when William entered London and declared himself king. The Witan and Edgar were forced to submit to William of Normandy at Berkhamstead Castle in Hertfordshire.

Timeline for King Harold II

Year Event
1066Harold Godwinson becomes King Harold II
1066Harold 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.
1066Harold II is killed at the Battle of Hastings according to legend with an arrow through his eye.
1066Edgar the Aethling, grandson of Edmund II is elected King, but rules for only a few weeks before submitting to William of Normandy