MONARCHS of BRITAIN|
Danish Kings of England
Svein I, Haraldsson Forkbeard (1014 AD)
After deposing his father, Harald Gormsson, Blue-Tooth, from the throne, Svein became king of Denmark in 985. From 994, on, he made a career out of attacking England and received the notorious Danegeld paid by Æthelred II. In 1013, Svein returned to England, not for more Danegeld, but with the idea of capturing the throne. On this expedition, he took with him, his son, Knut Sveinsson, who would later rule England as Canute I. The thought of engaging Svein and his son, Knut, in battle apparently did not thrill Æthelred, and caused him to vacate his throne in favor of a safe haven in Normandy. The vacant throne was seized by Svein, who held it for a mere five weeks. He died in February, 1014.
Canute (Cnut) I
With the death of his father Svein Forkbeard, Canute (Knut Sveinsson) withdrew from England to Denmark. There, he gathered his forces, came back to England in 1015 and took control of virtually the whole country, except for the city of London. At the death of Æthelred II, in 1016, the Londoners chose Edmund II as their king, but the Witan had chosen Canute. A series of engagements with Edmund followed, with Canute defeating Edmund at Ashington, Essex. A treaty was made between them calling for a partition of England, which would continue in force until one of their deaths, at which time all lands would revert to the survivor. Canute had only a month to wait to become king, since Edmund II died in November of 1016.
Canute consolidated his power by eliminating all claimants to the throne from the House of Wessex, through either banishment or execution. He had a son by his English mistress Ælgifu, Harald Harefoot, who would be regent at Canute's death and then, king for a short time. Canute got rid of his mistress and took Æthelred's widow, Emma, to be his lawfully wedded wife. Their union produced a legitimate son, Hardicanute, who would later rule as Canute II.
Canute's reign was a strong and effective one. He brought with him security from foreign invasion and he ruled justly and well. He was considered a friend of the English church and was generous toward it. At his death, he was buried in Winchester Cathedral.
Harald I, Harefoot
Harald Harefoot was Regent and King of England, and the son of Canute and Ælgifu. He assumed regency at the death of Canute in the stead of his half-brother, Hardicanute, who was then King of Denmark and the legitimate heir to the throne of England. In 1037, Harald was elected king and ruled until he died in 1040, just when his half-brother was preparing to invade England to claim his rightful crown.
Canute (Cnut) II, Hardicanute (1040-42 AD)
Hardicanute took the throne of Denmark at the death of his father Canute, in 1035. He was also the rightful heir to England's throne, but was prevented from coming there to claim it. Meanwhile, his illegitimate half-brother, Harold Harefoot, was made king in 1037. Hardicanute launched an expedition to claim the throne, but Harold died before he could arrive. Upon his arrival in England, he was elected king. Thereupon, he levied a punishing "fleet-tax" on the people to pay for the expenses of his unnecessary expedition. He was personally disliked and his reign was short and unsuccessful. He died of convulsions at a drinking party in June, 1042.
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