As of January the 5th this year, our much beloved King, Edward died and left no heirs. This is where Harold enters the story. Harold Godwinson, the second most powerful man in England, advisor to Edward and a brother in-law to the king. His position and power made him seem the logical successor and even more so, as it was supposedly Edward’s last wish to give the Kingdom ‘Into his hands’. With this kingly endorsement, the Witan (the council of royal advisors) unanimously selected Harold as King. Harold become King on the same day as Edward’s burial and this is really when the story begins.
William, Duke of Normandy, who you may know as one of Edward’s blood relatives (distant cousins) made a claim to the throne. It is also rumoured that Edward stated that he was designated to be his successor. To further reinforce the claim, William asserted that the message in which Edward anointed him as the next King of England had been carried to him in 1064 by none other than Harold himself. According to William, Harold has also sworn on the relics of a martyred saint that he would support William's right to the throne. There is no solid evidence to back up this claim so Harold remained King. From William’s point of view, when Harold took the throne he not only defied the wishes of Edward but had violated a sacred oath. William made haste to prepare to invade England and take the throne back. William secured the support of the Pope who promptly excommunicated Harold, consigning him and his supporters to an eternity in Hell.
As if this wasn’t enough for poor Harold! There was yet another claim to the throne from Harald Hardrada, King of Norway. His claim was even more dubious than William’s. When Harthacut (Danish ruler of England) ruled England, Mangus (nephew to Harald) made a deal, which stated that, because they both didn’t have male heir in the event of their death, they would own each other’s Kingdom. Harthacut died but Mangus was unable to follow up on his claim to the English throne because he was too busy battling for the rule of Denmark. Edward became the Anglo-Saxon ruler of England. Now with Mangus and Edward dead, Hardrada asserted that he, as Mangus's heir, was the rightful ruler of England. Once he heard of Harold’s coronation he quickly prepared to launch an attack on Harold.
Hardrada struck first. In mid September, Hardrada's invasion force landed on the Northern English coast and was joined in his effort by Tostig (King Harold's “irresponsible” brother). This army overwhelmed our English force blocking the York road and capturing the city. News of the…