By Webteam - 5th January 2018 6:01am
Royal Succession Crisis
Edward the Confessor died on 5th January, 1066, and King Harold II was declared king later the same day.
Harold had to defend his right to be King, first against Harold Hardrada at Stamford Bridge (near York, not Chelsea's home ground in West London) and then a few days later against William of Normandy at Hastings, 200 miles to the South.
Historians have long argued about the events of this momentous year — had Edward promised the Crown to Harold and/or William before his death? What part did the Pope's support for William play in the battle of Hastings?
How was it that Harold brilliantly won the battle of Stamford Bridge (his Northern forces already having been beaten at the Batlle of Fulford just a few days before) which he could easily have lost, but then managed to lose at Hastings, which he should have won and indeed need not have fought at all?
Whatever the background it led to the end of the Anglo-Saxon period of English history and turned the nation politically towards continental Europe rather than Scandinavia.
But where was Edward the Confessor buried and Harold and William both crowned? All these events happened in Westminster Abbey (recently rebuilt by Edward) as shown in this famous scene from the Bayeux Tapestry
All these events happened in Westminster Abbey (recently rebuilt by Edward) as shown in this famous scene from the Bayeux Tapestry
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