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.