Welcome back to our Sunday British history lesson! Last week, we saw Harold (son of Godwin, Earl of Wessex) become crowned as King Edward’s successor. Seems like a gesture toward the offspring of a once-nemesis that will foster peace, doesn’t it? Not so fast.
As it happens, Harold’s succession is highly disputed, for the Normans claim that Edward had earlier promised it to someone else! Hm, but that doesn’t sound very saint-like…Witnesses to Edward’s deathbed say otherwise, however, so let’s give him benefit of the doubt. At any rate, it is contested that William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy, was originally named as successor, so the dispute leads to the Norman conquest of England. William defeats and kills Harold at the Battle of Hastings, and, though Edward’s nephew Edgar is then crowned, the Norman invasion progresses until William—whom we best know as William the Conqueror—seizes control of London and is coronated King of England at Westminster Abbey.