Cnut routed Ethelred to take the English crown in 1016, he married
Emma, the widow of Ethelred in order to be linked to the English
royal house. On his death in 1035 he was succeeded for five years by
his eldest son Harold 'Harefoot' (1035 – 1040) and then by his
younger son Hardecnut who only reigned for two years (1040 - 42).
English crown then went to Edward, a son of Ethelred who was happily
accepted by the English nation as he was the great, great, great
grandson of Alfred the Great and so a true English monarch. He became
known as Edward the Confessor and reigned until January 5th 1066.
King Edward had no children, the question of his successor caused
problems. His nearest relative was a nephew's son Edgar who was only
a child, so not suitable. In those times there were no definite rules
laid down, so the crown often went to the man named by the dying
king. Edward named Harold Godwin, Earl of Wessex on his deathbed.
Harold was not only a powerful force in the land but also the brother
of Edith, Edward's Queen. The King died on the 5th of January 1066,
and Harold's succession was confirmed by the Witan, with Harold being
crowned King of England on the next day, the 6th of January, the day
of Edward the Confessor's burial.