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Alfred Atheling

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Title: Alfred Atheling  
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Subject: Harthacnut, Cnut the Great, Lyfing of Winchester, Ælfgifu of Northampton, Ælfric Puttoc
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Alfred Atheling

Alfred Atheling or Aetheling was the son of Aethelred II and his second wife Emma of Normandy. He was a brother of Edward the Confessor. King Canute became their stepfather when he married Aethelred's widow. He and his brother were caught in the power struggles at the start and end of Canute's reign.

After Aethelred's death in 1016, Edward and Alfred went into exile in Normandy in the court of Duke Robert of Normandy, and there is some evidence of a plot by Duke Robert to invade England on their behalf.[1] In 1036 or 1037, following Canute's death, he came to England to visit his mother. He was arrested. His followers were sent away and some of them killed. He was then blinded, and taken to Ely, where he soon died.[2]

Harthacnut prosecuted Earl Godwin and Lyfing, Bishop of Worcester and Crediton, for the crime against his half-brother; the Bishop lost his see for a while and Godwin gave the king a warship carrying eighty fighting men as appeasement and swore that he had not wanted the prince blinded and that whatever he had done was in obedience to the then king, Harold I.[3] Tradition holds that like Harthacnut, Edward the Confessor considered Godwin guilty.[4]

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is cautious about what happened. The ODNB article ends ". . . efforts to sanctify him . . . failed".


External links

  • Alfred Atheling at Find-A-Grave
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