Harold II Godwinson

King Harold II Godwinson, the last Anglo-Saxon king of England (c 1022 – 14 October 1066)

Harold was the last Anglo-Saxon king of England and was killed by William, Duke of Normandy at the Battle of Hastings.

Harold was born in the early 1020s, the son of Godwine, Earl of Wessex. He succeeded to his father’s titles in 1053, becoming the second most powerful man in England after the monarch. He was also a focus for opposition to the growing Norman influence in England encouraged by the king, Edward (known as ‘the Confessor’ for his piety).

Read Harold’s brief biography at the BBC.

Additional reading:

2 thoughts on “Harold II Godwinson

  • Harold was the last crowned Anglo-Saxon king of England, but Edgar the Outlaw was elected king by the Witenagemot after Harold’s death, and was effectively the king for a few months.

  • Alter — You’re right about Harold being the last crowned king. Edgar the Etheling was never crowned, but like you said, there were many prominent people in England who wanted Edgar to succeed Harold as king.

    From the above link on Edward, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle states:

    There was slain King Harold, and Leofwin his brother, and Earl Girth his brother, with many good men: and the Frenchmen gained the field of battle, as God granted them for the sins of the nation. Archbishop Aldred and the corporation of London were then desirous of having child Edgar to king, as he was quite natural to them; and Edwin and Morkar promised them that they would fight with them.

    The monks then chose for abbot Provost Brand, because he was a very good man, and very wise; and sent him to Edgar Etheling, for that the land-folk supposed that he should be king: and the etheling received him gladly. When King William heard say that, he was very wroth, and said that the abbot had renounced him: but good men went between them, and reconciled them; because the abbot was a good man.

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