Claimants to the English Throne in 1066

Description of the claims made for the English Throne plus historian views.

Red claims represent practical power

dark blue represents theoretical right to rule

  • Created by: Bethcr
  • Created on: 30-04-14 19:56
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  • Claims to the Throne of England in 1066
    • Hereditary Link
      • William was Edward's distant cousin
      • Edgar the Atheling was Edward's closest relative
    • Appointment by a previous Monarch
      • In 1051, Norman sources claim that William travelled to England and there was appointed by Edward as his heir.
        • This was while the Godwinsons were in exile
        • This was supposedly followed up by Edward sending Harold to Normandy to pledge an oath of allegiance to William in 1064, though this is highly contested
      • Harald Hardrada claimed that Harthacanute had made a deal with Harald's predecessor Magnus of Norway that if either died childless the other would inherit the other Kingdom, therefore Harald wanted to take him up on the offer
      • In 1066, on his deathbed and in the presence of Archbishop Stigand and the Queen, Edward offered the throne of England to Harold.
        • Recorded by both Anglo saxon and Norman Sources
        • Deathbed promise seen by AS people as more sincere as a dying man is closer to God
      • Edgar the Aethling's father, Edward the Exile, was brought back to england, it is suggested that this was to make him Edward's heir
        • The title Aethling means prince in Anglo Saxon English, suggesting some acknowledgement may have been made
    • Election by the Witan
      • Harold was the first and only claimant to be elected and anointed as King by the Witan
      • After Harold's death, Edgar was elected by the Witan but was never anointed
    • Military Experience
      • Harold had experience fighting in the Welsh Marches against the Welsh King ap Llewelyn
      • Harald Hardrada was one of the most feared warriors of the medieval world. He was well respected
      • William had had to fight to retain his Duchy of Normandy.
        • An example of this was the Breton- Norman war of 1064–1066
    • Land
      • Harald Hardrada was King of Norway and so had experience ruling a large country
      • William was Duke of Normandy and so had experience ruling and protecting his Dutchy
      • Harold was the leading earl in England
        • Huscroft points out that Harold and his families’ land was worth about £7,500 while Edward’s was worth under £6,000: “they were arguably more powerful than the King himself”


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