January 6

This Day in History

General Interest

Jan 6, 1066:

Harold II crowned king of England

Following the death of Edward the Confessor, Harold Godwineson, head of the most powerful noble family in England, is crowned King Harold II. On his deathbed, Edward supposedly designated Harold the royal heir, but this claim was disputed by William, duke of Normandy and cousin of the late king. In addition, King Harald III Hardraade of Norway had designs on England, as did Tostig, brother of Harold.

King Harold rallied his forces for an expected invasion by William, but Tostig launched a series of raids instead, forcing the king to leave the English Channel unprotected. In September, Tostig joined forces with King Harald III and invaded England from Scotland. On September 25, Harold met them at Stamford Bridge and defeated and killed them both. Three days later, William landed in England at Pevensey.

On October 14, 1066, Harold met William at the Battle of Hastings, and the king was killed and his forces defeated. According to legend, he was shot through the eye with an arrow. On Christmas Day, William the Conqueror was crowned the first Norman king of England.

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