c. 1004-1066 The last Anglo-Saxon king of England, son of King Ethelred II 'the Unready' and Queen Emma. Following Danish invasions, Ethelred and his family fled to Normandy, where Edward was raised and where he remained until 1042, when he was elected king of England. Having surrounded himself with Nornan advisers, he earned the displeasure of the Saxon nobles. The anti-Norman faction was led by his father-in-law, Godwin of Wessex, and his brother-in-law, Harold Godwinsson.

Edward's most significant achievement was the construction of Westminister Abbey. The new church was consecrated at Christmas in 1065, but Edward could not attend due to illness. A surprisingly ironic note is that Westminster Abbey became the church in which all English monarchs were crowned, beginning with William the Conqueror who invaded and conquered England in 1066. (see The Battle of Hastings.)

Harold died in January 1066, naming Harold Godwinsson his heir instead of his grandson, who was his legitimate heir.

Edward was canonized 95 years after his death.

Because Edward's mother Emma had also been married to Danish conqueror of England Canute, Edward the Confessor was half-brother to Edmund II Ironside (briefly king of England before Canute) through their father, and half-brother to Hardicanute, one of Canute's sons who ruled England, though their mother. Edward came to the throne of England on Hardicanute's death. Emma was the daughter of the duke of Normandy, so Edward promised the throne of England to William of Normandy his great-nephew (not Edward's own grandson; although Edward was married to Harold Godwinsson's sister Edith, the marriage was never consummated because Edward had taken a vow of chastity) at one point when he was displeased with Godwin and Harold, and William took this promise seriously.

It's also worth noting that at the time in question, the English monarchy was notionally elective, so that the earls voted for the king they wanted. It was traditional to vote for whichever of the dead king's relatives he'd asked you to, but not compulsory. Harold Godwinsson was indeed elected king, having been one of at least two people nominated by Edward at various times. Harald Hardradi of Norway also felt he had a good claim. It's difficult to say why Edward III of Saxon England was canonised as 'the Confessor', since he was one of the main causes of a totally needless civil war and decades, even centuries, of near-apartheid in England.

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