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The Disputed Crown

The year 1066 was a pivotal moment in English history, marked by the Norman Conquest of England. However, before William the Conqueror could claim the English crown, there was a dispute over who should rightfully hold it. The main contenders were Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex, and William, Duke of Normandy.

After the death of King Edward in January 1066, Edward had no direct heirs, and there were several candidates who could potentially claim the throne. Harold Godwinson was a powerful English nobleman who had been a close adviser to King Edward. He was quickly crowned king, with the support of the English nobility.

However, William of Normandy also claimed the English crown, based on a promise that he alleged had been made to him by Edward several years earlier. William argued that Harold had sworn an oath to support his claim to the throne, and therefore, Harold’s coronation was illegitimate.

The dispute over the English crown ultimately led to the Norman Conquest of England, as William the Conqueror invaded England with a Norman army in September 1066. David Howarth, in his book ‘1066: The Year of Conquest,’ suggests that the dispute was ultimately a clash of two different systems of government. It was a struggle between two different ways of life.

Primary source:

Howarth, David. 1066: The Year of the Conquest. Penguin Books, 1977.

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