Harold Godwineson was king of England from January 1066 until his death at Hastings on 14th October of that year. Although he was not the only candidate for the succession to the childless King Edward the Confessor, Harold had a far stronger claim than William of Normandy to the throne. For much of the reign of Edward the Confessor, who was married to Harold's sister Edith, the Godwine family, led by Earl Godwine, had dominated English politics. In The House of Godwine Emma Mason tells the turbulent story of a remarkable family which, until Harold's unexpected defeat, looked far more likely than the dukes of Normandy to provide the long-term rulers of England. But for the Norman conquest, an Anglo-Saxon England ruled by the Godwine dynasty would have developed very differntly from that dominated by the Normans.
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