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On What Basis were the various claims to the throne made in 1066?

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Introduction

On What Basis were the various claims to the throne made in 1066? When Edward the Confessor was crowned in 1042 he was claimed to have become celibate. From that day on there was constant talk, and at some times feuds, over who would step in to replace the man that was the King of England. Even at such an early stage in Edward's reign there was already bids and claims coming from all directions to succeed him. In the race to become King there were on a minor scale four claims to the throne. However the two major claimants were that of William the Duke of Normandy and the prestige Harold Godwinson. The claims to the throne had been narrowed down to five by historians, however at the time just about anyone with a piece of land was placing their bid on ruling the country. The other four whom would have believed had an almost given right to become king were: Harold Hardraader the half brother to Olaf (King of Norway), Edward Atheling son of Edmund Ironside (King of England 1016), Swein Estherithson the closest family descendant of the respected and renowned Cnut (King of England 1016-1035) and last and more than likely most doubtful Tostig the somewhat more popular of the Godwins' family in Edwards eyes certainly. William the Conqueror a young, wise and experienced Duke solely believed that on the day Edward died he would step in and gain full control of England. ...read more.

Middle

On his search he stumbled across Harald Hardraader who had just recently ended a long war campaign against Denmark. After losing to Denmark Harald saw this as a great opportunity to earn some real respect on the greatest level and dominate a country of mass importance. With Tostig's vengeful feelings at boiling point they began their claim for the throne. Harald had the potential to become a great King. Not only a strong powerful figure but also very resourceful and could improvise superbly in times of trouble. Someone with great battle field experience which is a lot more than what can be said for claimants such as Edward Atheling, Harald would have been a potential choice to defend the country against the force of the Norman's. Tostig also had experience with the political side of matters, having been an earl of Northumbria for some time and as Walker quotes "Tosti ruled the Earldom successfully for almost ten years." He could easily have handled that area sufficiently. Another factor, which would have contributed to the claim of Tostig and Harald, was that Tostig was a keen favourite of Edward the Confessor who took a close liking to him on the instance they met. Edward who had many problems and held many grudges with the Godwin family looked upon Tostig as a friend and was very sad to see him exiled in the events of the Northern rebellion. ...read more.

Conclusion

In respect of all the claims made to the throne in 1066 it had to be beyond exceptional doubt that the true, most probable and practical claim came from the most powerful man in England, Harold Godwinson. "It was a blend of two main qualities, an apitude for war with a desire for peace" which gave him the credentials to succeed the confessor. Known to many already as the sub-regulus he was destined for greatness. It was inevitable to many that it was only a matter of time until he got his fame and respect which his father fought so hard to gain. William the conqueror also lay good claim to the throne however in many historians' opinions he lacked the decisive vote of the witan and the military might of the earldoms. In the case of Harald Hardraader, Tostig and Swein they were mere outcasts in the real race for kinship. They lacked land, support, close relatives to Edward and respect of the English people. Edward Atheling was a different matter as he may have stood a very good chance of becoming King. Having been personally called over all the way from Hungary to visit Edward and talk of these matters he must have had good reason to do so. Suspicious and unfortunate circumstances however put a sudden halt to his claim and his son was too young to take into consideration. In conclusion there was one claim that stood out above the rest the Verba Novissium had much greater authority than all the claims put together. ...read more.

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