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Svein Estrithsson, King of Denmark

Svein was the son of Estrith, sister of Cnut, King of England from 1016 to 1035 and also King of Denmark and Norway. After the deaths of Cnut’s sons Kings Harold Harefoot (1035-1040) and Harthacnut (1040-1042), Svein was effectively the heir to these kings’ claim to be king of England. Estrith had also been briefly married to William the Conqueror’s father, Duke Robert the Magnificent of Normandy, who had dismissed her.

It is likely that Svein had a grudge against William as well as being another one of the individuals with a claim to be the next king of England in 1066. He also claimed that, soon after 1042, Edward the Confessor had also promised him that he would be his successor in England if Edward died without children!

Yet another person who believed they were the rightful heir to the throne - but it was not just Svein, there very well may have been lots of support for him in England already. As his father, King Cnut, brought many Danes with him to settle in England there would have been many individuals who wanted a Danish King again and so Svein was invited to invade England by rebels against William the Conqueror…

Svend Estridsen, king of denmark

Unlike William the Conqueror and Harald III Sigurdsson, Svein did not invade in 1066. He sent a large fleet to ally with rebels in 1069 and then joined them in the spring of 1070 - another fleet was sent in 1075. However none of these were successful, partly because of William being able to outmaneuvre him but also partly because there was not enough support in England.

Svein died in 1076 but William’s fear of invasion remained…


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DID YOU KNOW...?

Throughout his reign, William was very worried about other Danish invasions and ensured that he had soldiers across the country!