~ the battle for England between Stephen of Blois and Matilda The Empress ~


04 July 2010

Biographies: Harold II

• Harold - Edith Swan-neck and Ealdgyth

Harold II
Reign: 1066
Birth: c.1022
Death: 14 October 1066, Hastings, Sussex
Burial: uncertain, possibly Bosham or Waltham Abbey
Father: Godwin, Earl of Wessex
Mother: Gytha
Marriage: Edith Swan-neck and c.1065 Ealdgyth

NOTES: King Harold came to the English throne by election via the Witan after the death of Edward The Confessor in January 1066 and was about 44 or 45 years old at the time of his death at the Battle of Hastings in October 1066. There is a tradition that Harold's mistress Edith Swan-neck sought out his body and took it to Waltham Abbey for burial. Harold and Edith lived together for many years and she had borne him children including a daughter Gytha, named after Harold's mother, who sought refuge abroad after the Conquest and eventually married Vladimir Monomakh, Grand Duke of Kiev. In 1065 Harold married Ealdgyth, the widow of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, King of Gwynedd and Powys, and daughter of Alfgar, Earl of Mercia. She bore him at least one son, Harold, whose fate is uncertain. Interestingly, Harold had led successful military campaigns against the Welsh. Note that there is also much confusion between Ealdgyth and Edith Swan-neck. His most well known battle victory is most probably that of the Battle of Stamford Bridge against the forces of Harold Hardrada of Norway and his half brother Tostig which immediately preceded the Battle of Hastings in September 1066.

• The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: The years 1052-1069

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