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Re: King Edward's promise of throne to Duke William
Yes, your narrative matches all that I have read on this subject plus it
caused me to reread the Svein Estrithson account. I have found nothing
about Edward promising the throne to Svein but who knows. Svein had a
better claim on the English throne being the nephew of England's former King
Knut while William the Conqueror was the great nephew of Queen Emma (St.
Don't you think that Wm. the Conqueror (WC) must have known by 1052 when
the first plans were discussed to find Edward the Exile(EE)in Hungary, that
Edward the Confessor (EC) had no intention of letting him have the throne.
I think it is very possible that from that point
William must have begun to think that he might need to develop other ways to
gain the throne.
The 1054 attempt to reach EE in Hungary was thwarted because of certain
political problems between Hungary and the German Emperor but finally in
1057 Earl Harold Godwinson of England ( brother-in-law to EC) was appointed
to lead the mission to Hungary to bring back EE. The author of the "Harold
last Saxon King" speculates based on a Flemish document, that Harold went
with his brother-in-law, Count Baldwin V of Flanders to Cologne where Harold
and party were introduced to the Regent and had the opportunity to explain
his mission to her-- And possibly to Pope Victor II, who was also present.
The party travelled to Regensburg on the Danube for Christmas and from
there probably Harold opened negotiations with the Hungarian King Andrew I.
It took some persuasion and maybe some gifts and bribes. During this time
Harold may have accompanied Pope Victor to Rome for Easter 1057. This
information comes from a document.
The Harold book author investigates all the relationships and
possibilities of heirs to EC and comes up with at least 2 other men that
would have had more claim on the throne than WC. He sums it up by saying
that if EC (in 1051 when it was said that he told WC that he could be king)
had chosen WC it would have represnted a major breach of tradition and as
such it seems highly unlikely that it would have received much, if any,
support in England. WC was not of royal blood, a foreigner, a relatively
unknown quantity in England, and still struggling to hold his own duchy at
home. And none of the Norman writers could ever give any reason why EC
would promise this to WC. It wouldn't have been out of gratitude because
when EC and his brother attempted in 1036 to regain the throne they received
no Norman help but had to rely on others to help them.
The author agrees that WC really believed that he had been designated as
EC's successor or else he wouldn't have taken such an immense risk with the
invasion. So the blame seems to hang over the banished Archbiship Robert of
Jumieges as you said. There is much detail concerning all the events of
this time that seem to point to him as the instigator.
Harold's visit to Normandy was recorded only in the Norman writings
written around 1067-70 with the specific purpose of justifying William's
claim to the English throne. They give no specific date of his visit
loosely put it around 1054-5. The Norman chronicles say that Harold was sent
by EC to confirm his earlier promise of the succession to Duke William and
to swear fealty to him. However little had changed from 1051 except that
now Duke WC was better known having recently conquored Maine. This resulted
in the imprisonment and death of EC's nephew, Count Walter of the Vexin. who
died in suspicious circumstances while in WC's custody, allegedly by poison.
This would hardly endear WC to EC. Norman writings say that EC was near
death and wanted to secure the throne, but Saxon Chronicles show that EC was
healthy enough to go hunting in autumn of 1065. Also remember that since
1052 everyone knew that EC had been working on his plan to find his half
nephew Edward the Athling in Hungary to replace him so why would WC believe
him when he supposedly was saying now that he was renewing his pledge of the
throne to WC?
We can blame Archbishop Robert but it seems to me WC was really gullible
or wanted the throne so badly that he cast all reason aside or else the
writers of the Norman chronicles convinced us of WC's true belief in a
ficticious pledge and we are the gullible ones.
I think that it is a real coincidence that the raid of Harold Hardradi
and Tosti (bro of Harold Godwinson-the guy I have been writing about) just
happened to occur as William was massing over in Normandy. It was an old
strategy of the Vikings to make coordinated attacks at different points to
divide and conqueror their victims. It would be interesting to see whether
it was the Saxon chronicles or the Norman chronicles that said that WC was
waiting for the wind to change. Or was he waiting for the other attack and
to see whether Harold would go north so that he could slip in safely.
Another interesting note is that in May 1066 Tosti had tried to attack
England and was provided aid by a large flemish fleet of his brother-in-law,
Baldwin V OF Flanders, who was also a relation of WC. This author in many
places put holes in the Norman account of history over and over again.
There are so many details here. We only hear the Norman version of history.
(my thoughts) It was at this time that now King Harold Godwinson became
aware of WC massing over in Normandy. Is it possible that the wind shifted
just before he could join Tosti with a invasion to another part of England
but then waited until Sept. when Tosti and Harold Hardradi combined to
invade York? Surely between May and Sept. the wind must have blown the
other way just once???
Got to go to dance practice 10:00 PM,
From: J. R. Carpenter Jr. <email@example.com>
To: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
Date: Tuesday, May 18, 1999 1:01 PM
Subject: King Edward's promise of throne to Duke William
>Its been a while since I was asked to substantiate my statement that Edward
>promised the throne to William. It is a very murky topic, with not much to
>go on, except that William believed it. Adding to the confusion was the
>that Edward made statements off the cuff at times to keep people off guard.
>He supposedly promised the throne also to Svein Estrithson, King of
>and a nephew by marriage, just to piss off his wife's family. His wife
>was a member of the Godwineson family.
>Edward and the Godwine family (Harold was Earl Godwine's son) were in a
>power struggle from ca 1046 to 1051, when the Godwinesons lost and were
>exiled. But, they were able to return within a year. Edward, not wanting
>civil war that it would have taken to defeat them, accepted their return.
>that point, several of Edward's supporters were then exiled, including
>Archbishop Robert of Jumieges. Robert was exiled to the Continent, and was
>in Normandy ca 1052 to ca 1054 when he died there.
>In Normandy, Robert said something that either made William think he had a
>legitimate claim to the throne or let William make what was said to be a
>legitimate claim. Robert may have acted on Edward's behalf, or on his own
>trying to get back in power. Or, it may have been another of Edward's
>capricious statements, maybe made with 'plausible deniability' (to use one
>of today's terms). Who knows. Certainly it was not crystal clear then,
>except in the claim William made.
>What is known for certain is the power struggle and the exiles -- and some
>sort of treaty between William and Edward in the Mid-Lent Council of 1051.
>What needs to be remembered is that the victors write the history. Later
>Norman accounts of "the promise" say that Edward promised the throne to
>William for three reasons. First, that William and his family helped Edward
>get the throne and provided many benefits and honors to Edward. Second,
>William was kin to Edward. And third, that William was the most suitable of
>Edward's kin to take the throne. *IF* such a promise was really made, it
>would have specified that William was in line for throne only if a more
>suitable successor from closer in Edward's family was not found.
>William certainly made the claim, whether it was legitimate or not, to be
>Edward's successor. Harold reinforced it in his trip to the Continent in ca
>1064. He was shipwrecked and then captured by the Bretons. William
>him, but he was still a virtual prisoner of William. It was then that
>William made Harold promise to support his claim to the throne. Knowing
>about the Godwineson family, it is hard to imagine that Harold could have
>made the promise of support without his life being in danger. Such a
>promise, made under duress, would not have been something Harold could have
>been held to. But William hid the holy relics under something Harold was
>touching, so the promise then took on a more serious tone.
>How legitimate either "promise" is considered depends, I guess, on what
>you take today in events that happened 940 years ago.
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