Key Stage 3 History: 1: 1066 - Three contenders, one throne. I Oxford Open Learning

    Key Stage 3 History: 1: 1066 – Three contenders, one throne.

    Here is the first in a new series of blogs looking at  Key Stage 3 History topics. We start by looking at the contenders for the throne in 1066.

    1066 – Three contender, one throne.

    Oh my… I just don’t know what’s going to happen now! It’s a disaster. The whole country will fall apart. It will be chaos… Ok, I need to take a deep breath and think rationally. I’m sorry I’m in such a flap, it’s just it’s not every day you lose your King. You see, Edward the Confessor has died. He had been King for so long and he was such a holy man, a good man. The best you could ever meet. (Not that I ever met him, of course, I’m just a mere commoner, but you hear these things, don’t you?)

    And now, no one knows who’s going to be King. Edward left no children so it isn’t obvious who will succeed him. I’ve heard there are three men who all think they should be King. I’ll give you all the gossip and then you can decide what you think.

    Firstly, there’s Harold Godwinson. He’s the Earl of Wessex, so he’s English. He was also Edward’s brother-in-law so there’s some family connection. He says that Edward promised him the throne on his deathbed. But I heard that Edward actually hated Harold’s family because they killed his brother, Alfred. And, Harold was captured a few years ago in Normandy (that’s in France) and promised that he would help William become King when Edward died.

    Then there’s Harald Hardrada. He also says that Edward promised him the throne. He’s from Norway but he thinks he can be our King because one of his ancestors is King Cnut who ruled England long ago. He may be a foreigner but he has support. Harold Godwinson’s own brother, Tostig, supports Harald. I heard that Tostig and Harold had a huge argument and Harold made his brother leave England forever!

    And then there’s William of Normandy, the one Harold promised to help become King. He had been good friends with Edward and says that Edward promised him the throne. I’ve heard rumours that the promise was an oath, which means Harold is well and truly in trouble. Breaking an oath is serious stuff. Apparently, the Pope is so angry about it, he’s promised to help William if he wants to invade England.

    So what do we do? Three contenders, one throne. I don’t know what to think – I’m in such a mess about Edward dying. Who do you think should be King?

    Penny Brooks


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    Greg is the Head Of Operations at Oxford Home Schooling and has more than 25 years of experience in Distance Learning and Home Education