In 1066, on this day the Anglo-Saxon Advisory Council known as the Witenagemot proclaimed that the new King of England would be a fifteen year old youth, Edgar the Ætheling, noble son of the royal house of Cerdic of Wessex.
Noble Son by Ed & Jackie SpeelDespite his blood primacy as the late Edward the Confessor's nephew, under normal circumstances the commitment of these powerful members of the English elite would be highly questionable at best. Because when Edward had died just eight months before, the Witenagemot had overlooked Edgar, instead selecting the powerful nobleman, Harold Godwinson.
Admittedly Harold was the man best placed to defend the country against the competing foreign claimants, an undeniable fact that was later proven during his short reign by his glorious victory over Duke of Normandy, William the Bastard and also King Harald III Hardrada of Norway.
After crushing the Normans at Hastings, Harold had force marched his English Army to Stamford Bridge where they had defeated the Norwegians led by King Harald III and also his own brother, Tostig Godwinson. Yet at the moment of triumph, Harold was killed by an arrow in the eye. And so by October, England had been secured from foreign invasion, the other claimants to the thrown were all dead, and it mattered not at all if the King was still too young to be an effective military leader. And his coronation of the re-united Kingdom the following month would bring to a climax the most incredible succession.
He was born in Hungary, where his father Edward the Exile, son of King Edmund II Ironside, had spent most of his life, having fled to safety abroad after the conquest of England by the Danish king Cnut in 1016. And in 1057 the childless King of England, Edmund Ironside's half-brother Edward the Confessor, who had only recently become aware that his nephew was still alive, summoned Edward back to England with his family to take up his place at court as heir to the throne. The returning exile died in uncertain circumstances shortly after his arrival in England. Edgar, still a small child, was left as the only surviving male member of the royal dynasty apart from the king. However, the latter made no recorded effort to entrench his grand-nephew's position as heir to a throne which was being eyed by a range of powerful potential contenders including England's leading aristocrats and foreign rulers.