HARTHACNUT (King of England 1040-1042)

 Born  circa 1018   Born At  
 Died  8 Jun 1042   Buried At  
 Father  Canute (King of England 1016-1035)   Mother  
Preceded by  HAROLD (Harefoot, King of England 1037-1040) Succeeded by  Edward (The Confessor, King of England 1042-1066)
 Royal House   Denmark

Titles Include

King of England from 1040 to 1042


arthacanute was the eldest son of Canute and his second wife Emma. When Canute died in November of 1035 Harathacanute was in Denmark and could not return to England because his claim to the (Danish/Norwegian ?) throne was being contested by Magnus I of Norway. Harthacanute appointed his mother Emma and Harold (I) Harefoot as regents to look after the affairs of England. Harold was also the son of Canute but by Canute's first marriage to Aelfgifu.

Harold Harefoot

Harthacanute was delayed from returning to England and a dispute between Emma and Harold began as to who should rule the country. The Earl Godwine sided with Harold and in 1036 Harold was proclaimed as sole Regent. At this point Emma called to her sons in Normandy for assistance. Albert, one of her sons arrived in England and was promptly murdered possibly by the Earl Godwine. Emma took refuge in Bruges. Harold died in March of 1040, and the death may not have been natural. In June of the same year, Harthacanute landed in England with a suitably large fleet and claimed back the English throne.

High taxes

Harthacanute raised taxes to help pay for the defence of his large kingdom which included Denmark. Opposed to the increases a revolt started around Worcester and Harthacanute dealt with the rebels without mercy. Overall, Harthacanute was not a popular king, and when he died in 1042 the Saxon Edward the Confessor was chosen as his successor.

Family Tree Details
Father: Canute (King of England 1016-1035) (b.995 - d.1035)
Mother: Emma (of Normandy, Wife of Aethelred) (b.982 - d.1052)
HARTHACNUT (King of England 1040-1042) (b.1018 - d.1042)

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1035 Nov 12  17yrsCanute dies
 King Canute died at Shaftesbury leaving the rule of the country in dispute between Harthacnut (the son of Emma) and Harold Harefoot (the son of Aelfgifu). The Earls of Northumbria and Mercia supported Harold's claim while Earl Godwine supported Harthacanute's. Canute's body was taken to Winchester to be buried. Harthacnut was in Denmark at the time of his father's death and was unable to travel to England because of invasion threats.

Episode: Viking Invasions  
1036   18yrsHarold declared regent of England
 With Harthacnut still in Denmark a meeting was held at Oxford that chose Harold to act as regent of England.  
1040 Jun  22yrsHarthacanute lands in England and becomes King
 After a period in Denmark, Harthacanute returned to England to reclaim the throne of England which had been taken by Harold. 
1041   23yrsEdward the Confessor returns to England
 After a long exile at the Norman court Edward the Confessor returned to England. Harthacanute had no wife or heir so had invited Edward to return as Edward had the right to claim the English throne.[1] 
1042 Jun 8  24yrsHarthacanute dies and Edward the Confessor becomes King
 Harthacanute collapsed while attending a party and died shortly afterwards. He died without an heir and so the crown reverted back to the Saxons and Edward the Confessor was crowned King of England at Easter of 1043 at Winchester. After the death of Harthacanute Magnus took control in Denmark.

Episode: Viking Invasions  

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