Harald Hardrada

Who was Harald Hardrada?
Harald Hardrada was the King of Norway. In 1066 he invaded England in an attempt to take the throne.
Why did Harald Hardrada think he should be king?
There were a number of reasons why Harald Hardrada had a claim to the throne.
  • His predecessor in Norway, Magnus, had made an agreement with Harthacnut, a previous Viking king of England.
  • The agreement said that, if Harthacnut died before Magnus, then Magnus would succeed him as king of England.
  • This had not happened, but as Magnus' successor in Norway, Harald believed that the agreement extended to him.
What were the strengths of Harald Hardrada's claim to the throne?
Harald Hardrada felt his claim was strong.
  • He had succeeded to the Norwegian throne when Magnus died, so he felt that Magnus' agreement with Harthacnut extended to him.
  • England had been ruled by Vikings from 1016 to 1042. Many Anglo-Danes lived in England, and might welcome another Viking king.
What were the weaknesses of Harald Hardrada's claim to the throne?
Harald Hardrada's claim was not, in fact, particularly strong.
  • The agreement between Magnus and Harthacnut had been between the two kings, and it did not extend to their successors.
  • Although many Anglo-Danes might have accepted Harald, most people in England did not want a Viking king.
  • Harald had no other ties or relationship with England.
  • There is no evidence that Harald intended to claim the throne until he was urged to do so by Tostig Godwinson in 1066.
How strong was Harald Hardrada?
In 1066, Harald was able to muster a fleet of 300 ships and up to 10,000 soldiers.
Who were Harald Hardrada's allies?
Harald Hardrada allied with Tostig Godwinson, Harold's brother.
What did Harald Hardrada do?
In September 1066 Harald Hardrada led a Viking invasion on the north-east of England.
Which battles did Harald Hardrada fight in England?
During the Viking attack on England, Harald Hardrada was involved in two important battles:
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