Harold 1035-1040

Born: 1016

Titles: King of England

Crowned: 1035

Ruled: 5 years.


Died: 1040 aged 23.

Buried: Westminster and later at St Clement Dane's Church London.

Harold (Harefoot) Ruled 1037 (regent from 1035)-17 March 1040. He was the son Of Canute and his first wife Elfgiva. At the time of his succession some challenged his legitimacy, claiming that Elfgiva was only a hand fast wife. He is believed to have been born in Northampton in 1016. The accepted heir to the throne was Harthacnut, his half-brother, who was delayed in Denmark. Harold was accepted as regent, to rule alongside Harthacanut's mother Emma, and Earl Godwin, but with Harthacanut's continued absence, Harold was accepted as king and crowned in 1037 at Oxford. His authority may not have gone unchallenged. In 1036 Prince Alfred, one of the younger sons of Athelred and Emma, had returned from exile, ostensibly to visit his mother, but in all likelihood to test out support for a possible bid for the throne. However he and his supporters were captured and imprisoned. Alfred was blinded so brutally that he died from the wounds. His death is recorded as either 5 February 1036 or 1037, the ASC favouring 1036, though either are possible as uncertainty remained in England until Harold was crowned; a situation compounded when Earl Godwin changed sides and supported Harold. Emma fled into exile to Flanders for her own safety. Nothing is recorded of Harold's reign beyond a dispute with the church over the ownership of lands at Sandwich. Like many young sons of powerful kings, he was spoiled and ineffectual. He died at Oxford in 1040 and was buried at Westminster, though Harthacnut exhumed the body and had it beheaded and flung in the marshes. He was later reburied, probably at St Clement Dane's church in London. He had a young son, Elfwine, who was raised on the continent and later became a monk.

By kind permission of "The Kings and Queens of England Website" (http://www.frhes.freeserve.co.uk/)