Heritage > Rulers

Edward 'Saint Edward the Confessor', 1042-1066

Edward was married to Edgyrth, daughter of Earl Godwin of Wessex and Kent. They had no offspring.

Edward came to the throne of England through the machinations of Earl Godwin and Harthacnut. Godwin for the future status of his own family lineage and Harthacnut through his deep hatred of the upstart Magnus of Norway.

Edward's childhood was one of an exiled prince who had no real prospect of a kingdom. Being of the Saxon line which had seen Alfred, Edgar and Ethelred II becoming Kings of England the interventions of the Danish would have seemingly deprived him of his place on the throne. It is therefore ironic that it is was at the behest of Harthacnut that Edward was to be the next King of England. This was probably through a bitter spite towards Magnus, as stated, and the influence of Earl Godwin who craved a grandson on the throne of England.

With no sign of a grandchild, it is said that Godwin prepared to make a son of his own, Harold Godwinson, the next King of England. It is through the knowledge of this plan, and also that Godwin had been responsible for the murder of his brother Alfred, that Edward was provoked into banishing his Queen and exiling Godwin.

All thought of Harold Godwinson becoming king was seriously threatened by the announcement by Edward that William of Normandy, his cousin, would be his successor upon his death.

It was Edward who commissioned the building of Westminster Abbey and the influence of his Norman upbringing is evident in its construction.

The title 'Confessor' derives from a status between common man and saint and was given to Edward through his just deeds. A century after his death, in January 1066, Edward was made a saint.

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