Heritage > Rulers
Harold I, "Harefoot" 1035-1040
The son of Cnut and his first wife, Elfgifu. Harold remained unmarried, with no children being recorded in the histories of the time.
With Cnut's death it was obvious that a factional struggle would mark the accession of his successor. Harold was, at the outset, his first born and legitimate son and therefore the obvious heir to the throne. This was not as straight forward as one may have expected in that in England Emma was Cnut's official wife. This would mean that her son, Harthacnut, was the rightful heir.
Harthacnut, as King of Denmark, was engaged in warfare with independence-seeking King Magnus of Norway. He did lay claim to the English throne, with his mother's support and that of the Earl of Godwin of Wessex, but was for obvious military reasons unable to take it.
Another claimant to the throne, Alfred, son of Emma and Ethelred II, was also involved in the three way struggle for the crown. Alfred's involvement was, however, terminated by his murder on the orders of Earl Godwin. The field lay clear for Harold to be accepted, first as regent and later as king.
Harold became King of England at the age of 18 and died in Oxford in the spring of 1040 with no immediate heir.