Edgar Aetheling

Who was Edgar Aetheling?
Edgar Aetheling was the great-nephew of Edward the Confessor. As Edward's closest male relative, he was a contender for the throne in 1066, and was later involved in rebellions against the Normans.
Why did Edgar Aetheling think he should be king?
Edgar Aetheling was Edward the Confessor's closest male relative, so he thought he had a good claim to the throne.
What were the strengths of Edgar Aetheling's claim to the throne?
Edgar Aetheling appeared to have a strong claim to the English throne.
  • He was Edward the Confessor's closest blood relative - his great-nephew.
  • His father, Edward the Exile, had been nominated to succeed Edward the Confessor, but had died before Edward. However, as the Exile's son, Edgar felt he should take his father's place.
  • Edgar had been brought up by Edward the Confessor. He was called the Aetheling, which was a name that indicated an heir apparent.
What were the weaknesses of Edgar Aetheling's claim to the throne?
Edgar Aetheling's claim was not considered strong for a number of reasons.
  • He was only around fifteen when Edward the Confessor died. The Witan thought he was too young to lead England when there were other stronger claimants who might invade.
  • Edgar had no military experience, and no wealth. That meant he had little military support to defend the kingdom.
  • There was no law that said that the throne should go to the previous king's closest male relative.
  • Because he had been born in Hungary and had lived there for the first few years of his life, Edgar was not well known to the nobles.
When was Edgar Aetheling crowned king?
Following Harold Godwinson's defeat at Hastings in October 1066, Edgar was hastily crowned king in London. However, he and other important Anglo-Saxon earls surrendered to William, Duke of Normandy shortly afterwards, at Berkhamsted.
What rebellions was Edgar Aetheling involved in?
Edgar Aetheling was involved in a number of uprisings following the Norman conquest.
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