Harold Godwinson

- King of England AD 1066-1066.

Harold (c. AD 1022–1066) was son of Earl Godwin who, from the beginning of the 11th century, was one of the most prominent men in England.

Earl Godwin was married to Gyda, the sister of Earl Ulf, Canute the Great's brother-in law and his deputy in Denmark. Godwin had been Canute's most trusted man in England but after Canute's death and the crowning of Edward the Confessor the family were driven from the country and were forced to seek refuge in Dublin. When Edward allowed the family to move back to England in AD 1052 Godwin re-won the king's confidence and was given back his earldom in Wessex.

When Earl Godwin died he left the whole of his earldom to his son Harold, and as the new head of the family Harold became one of England's most powerful men. The earl's daughter Edith married King Edward.

In AD 1065, Harold supported Edward in his fight against rebels from Northumbria. The rebels were led by Harold's own brother Tostig, who was earl in that area, and the battles ended with Harold encouraging the king to banish Tostig from the country.

King Edward, who had been ill for some considerable time, died in January AD 1066, and Harold who, in practice, had already ruled the country maintained that Edward had promised him the throne on his deathbed. The very day after Edward's death he was crowned Harold II, king of England.

Louise Kæmpe Henriksen