1066 was an eventful year in England’s history. It is remembered for the Battle of Hastings, but so much more happened and could have happened in those twelve months.
It saw the coronation and the death of two Kings, and two major battles that would end the Anglo-Saxon era to give rise to the dawn of a new one, the Normans.
In 1066 England was divided into Kingdoms. The most powerful were Wessex, Mercia and Northumbria, each governed by Earls, but all united under King Edward.
King Edward, known as the Confessor, was 38 when he became King in 1042, and had spent 27 years of his life in exile. Most of this exile was at the Court of the Duke of Normandy, as his mother was the eldest daughter of Richard I, Duke of Normandy.
King Edward invited Norman Councillors to the Royal Court at Gloucester to advise him at certain times during his reign, and therefore had an affinity towards Normandy.
In 1051 Edward asked William, Duke of Normandy to be his heir to the throne if he died without producing any children. However, there were many more claimants to the Crown.
Fourteen years later, Edward’s life was ending without an heir, so would he uphold his promise to William or choose an Anglo-Saxon King?