Edward The Confessor Birthday & Fun Facts

Height, Age, Net Worth, Biography & More

Akinwalere Olaleye
Mar 01, 2024 By Akinwalere Olaleye
Originally Published on Nov 30, 2023
Discover some interesting facts about the history of the famous Anglo-Saxon king, Edward The Confessor, here at Kidadl.
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Read time: 4.7 Min

About Edward The Confessor

Edward the Confessor was born to King Ethelred the Unready and Emma of Normandy in Islip, Oxfordshire, in 1003-1005. He held the distinction of being King Ethelred's seventh son and the first son of the king's wife, Emma.

Edward's early years were marked by the era of Viking raids on England. In 1013, Sweyn Forkbeard ascended the throne, leading to Emma's flight with her sons, Edward and Alfred. Edward's reign over the House of Wessex lasted for a relatively brief span of 24 years, lasting 1042-1066. It ended with his death in 1066. He is remembered as a dynamic, resourceful, and devout leader who adeptly defended his kingdom against numerous incursions until his passing.

Childhood And Education

Edward the Confessor was born in Islip, Oxfordshire, England, with his birthdate estimated between 1003 and 1005.

Family And Relationship

Edward was part of a family that included his brother, Alfred, and a sister named Godgifu.

Edward's older half-brother, Edmund Ironside, succeeded Ethelred after his death in April 1016 and continued the struggle against Sweyn's son, Cnut. Unfortunately, Edmund's demise in November 1016 led to Cnut's undisputed reign, prompting Edward and his siblings to once again seek refuge.

Edward the Confessor's ascension to the throne was aided by the support of Godwin, the influential Earl of Wessex. On January 23, 1045, Edward solidified his alliance with Godwin by marrying Edith, Godwin's daughter. Edward the Confessor's reign became significant as the last king of the House of Wessex, spanning 24 years from 1042-1066.

Career And Professional Highlights

Best Known For…

Following Harthacnut's death on June 8, 1042, Earl Godwin, one of the most influential English earls, supported Edward's ascension to the throne. Edward's coronation took place on April 3, 1043, at the Cathedral of Winchester, the historical seat of the West Saxons.

In November 1043, Edward, accompanied by his prominent earls, Earl Godwin, Leofric of Mercia, and Siward of Northumbria, ventured to Winchester to retrieve assets and treasures associated with Queen Emma, who later passed away in 1052.

In the initial 11 years of Edward's reign, there was a perception of limited royal authority, and there was a power struggle between the king and powerful nobles, including Earl Godwin of Wessex. While Edward retained certain priorities, like the appointment of bishops, the distribution of power was complex and involved multiple noble figures. He entered into marriage with Edith, the daughter of Earl Godwin, in 1045, and notably, the authority of Earl Godwin increased significantly.

However, a significant conflict emerged between Edward and Godwin, instigated by accusations of a plot against Edward's life made by Archbishop Robert. As a result of this, in 1051, Edward exiled the entire Godwin family and sent his wife, Edith, to a nunnery. In 1052, Earl Godwin and his sons returned, prompting Edward to seek reconciliation as civil war was undesirable. Consequently, Edward's Norman forces were banished, Edith was reinstated as queen, and Earl Godwin had his lands restored. In 1053, Earl Godwin passed away, and his son, Harold, assumed his title and became Harold of Wessex.

Edward the Confessor's succession was indeed marked by promises and events. On his deathbed, he designated Harold Godwinson as his successor, despite an alleged prior promise of the crown to Duke William, the Duke of Normandy. A choice that ignited a series of historic events. Edward died on January 5, 1066, and found his final resting place at Westminster Abbey on January 6. It was on this same day that King Harold II was crowned, officially ascending to the throne.

However, King Harold II didn't rule for long, and it all came to a dramatic end at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. England, at that pivotal moment, slipped from his grasp and fell under the rule of Duke William the Conqueror, marking the Norman conquest of England.

Following these events, Edward's nephew, often referred to as Edgar Ætheling, briefly held the title of king. However, his reign was brief, ultimately leading to his peaceful resignation after some weeks. The complex story of Edward's succession and the subsequent historical shifts have left an unforgettable mark on English history.

Edward earned the title 'The Confessor' due to his reputation for piety and self-discipline, although he was not a martyr, hence the title 'Confessor'. In 1161, approximately a century after Edward's death, Pope Alexander III canonized him. The Church of England and the Catholic Church commemorate the feast of Saint Edward on October 13.

In the 1230s, King Henry III developed an affinity for the followers of Saint Edward and commissioned a new biography. This biography was likely intended to promote further and celebrate the life and legacy of Edward the Confessor, a way to reinforce the symbolic ties between the reigning monarch and this revered historical figure, emphasizing the continuity of English kingship and the importance of piety and religious devotion.

Other Interesting Edward The Confessor Facts And Trivia

  • The English throne was claimed by not one but more than two successors after the death of King Edward, which included Harold Hardaraada, Harold Godwinson, and William, the Duke of Normandy.
  • The numbering of English monarchs in regnal order commences following the Norman conquest. This explains why Edward the Confessor, who held the third King Edward, is not denoted as Edward III.
  • In 1269, King Henry III constructed an elaborate new tomb for Edward the Confessor in Westminster Abbey, London. Edward remained the patron saint of England until 1350 when King Edward III appointed Saint George as the new patron saint.

 

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Edward The Confessor Birthday & Fun Facts Facts

Nationality

English

Place of Birth

Islip

Child Star?

No

Occupation

King of England

Partner

Edith

Parents

Ethelred the Unready, Emma of Normandy

Siblings

Alfred, Godgifu, Cnut, Eadmund Ironside, Eadwig Ætheling
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Sources

www.royal.ukhistory.rcplondon.ac.ukanglotopia.netwww.encyclopedia.comwww.pillarcatholic.comwww.history.comwww.english.op.orgwww.historyforkids.netwww.schoolsofkingedwardvi.co.ukwww.oxforddnb.com

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Written by Akinwalere Olaleye

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Akinwalere Olaleye picture

Akinwalere OlaleyeBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

As a highly motivated, detail-oriented, and energetic individual, Olaleye's expertise lies in administrative and management operations. With extensive knowledge as an Editor and Communications Analyst, Olaleye excels in editing, writing, and media relations. Her commitment to upholding professional ethics and driving organizational growth sets her apart. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Benin, Edo State. 

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