Edward the Confessor

Edward the Confessor was the King of England from 1042 to 1066.

He had a difficult early life due to an Danish Invasion in 1013. When Edward’s father Ethelred II the Unready died in 1016, the Danish took control and the king of Denmark Cnut became king of England as well from 1016 to 1035. To limit the threat to himself Edward the Confessor and his brother and sister lived in exile. Edward returned to England in 1041.

Edward the Confessor

Due to this exile and because Edward the Confessor’s mother Emma was the daughter of Duke Richard I of Normandy, Edward spent most of his life from childhood onwards in Normandy. After Harthacnut (King of England from 1040-42) died Edward returned to England he was crowned King and with him he brought some Norman influence - including some Norman and French Nobles to his Royal Court. Throughout his reign he was very close with Godwine, who was earl of Wessex and massively powerful and his children, Edith, who Edward married, and Harold Godwinson. When Godwine died in 1053 - Harold Godwinson took over as the Earl of Wessex and continued to work very closely with Edward the Confessor. See more on Harold Godwinson here.

Bayeux Tapestry scene 1 EDWARD is king

It is claimed that Edward, on his deathbed, named Harold as his successor and the following day Harold Godwinson was crowned the King of England.

However, due to Edward’s lack of an heir and favouritism of certain people, Harold was not the only person promised the throne! Years before in 1051, according William the Conqueror’s biographer William of Poitiers. Edward also promised the throne to his relative William, Duke of Normandy, later called William the Conqueror - see here for more about William and his claim to the English throne.



Edward the Confessor was officially canonized as Saint and Confessor by Pope Alexander III in February 1161 - almost 100 years after his death!