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Alfred Ætheling

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Alfred Ætheling

Ælfred Æþeling (English: Alfred the Noble) (died 1036) was one of the eight sons of the English king Ethelred II, called 'The Unready'. He and his brother Edward the Confessor were sons of Ethelred's second wife Emma of Normandy.[1]

Siege of London

In 1013 during the siege of London by the Danes, Ethelred fled England to exile in Normandy accompanied by a retinue of close family members which included Alfred, Edward and several more of his children. Ethelred regained the throne in 1014, but Alfred and his family remained in Normandy. Ethelred died in 1016, and England was conquered by Canute of Denmark in the same year.

Return to England

In 1035, Canute died, and during the uncertainty that followed, the heirs of the former Anglo-Saxon rulers attempted to restore the House of Wessex to the throne of England. Alfred Aetheling landed on the coast of Sussex with a Norman mercenary body guard and attempted to make his way to London. However he was betrayed, captured by Earl Godwin of Wessex, and blinded: he died soon afterwards.[2]

In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle there is an account of this fateful encounter:

The Anglo-Saxon House of Wessex was restored through the accession of Alfred's brother Edward in 1042. Alfred's death was one of the main reasons for the mistrust and resentment shown by many members of Anglo-Saxon society, and particularly from Edward himself, towards Earl Godwin and his sons.

Modern era

During the 1920s the remains of several hundred soldiers, probably Normans, were found to the west of Guildford. They were bound and had been executed. The grave has been dated to c.1040. It is believed to be likely that they were the guards of Prince Alfred.

See also

References

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