Family tree for Edgar Aetheling, son of Edward the Exile showing:
Edgar Aetheling was born around 1051 and died around 1126. He was the son of Edward the Exile who had fled England after the death of his father, King Edmund Ironside because the Dane Canute had seized the throne. His mother was Agatha, possibly the daughter of Yaroslav of Kiev. He was styled Aetheling because he was the grandson of a king. There are no details of the family’s lives while they were in exile.
Edgar and his family were recalled to England by Edward the Confessor in 1056. It is thought that Edward, who was childless, intended to make Edward his heir. The family reached England in the late Summer of 1057. Shortly afterwards, Edgar’s father died, the circumstances of his death are not known but he may have been murdered.
King Edward the Confessor died on 5th January 1066. Edgar was the nearest blood relative to the Confessor but the Witan considered him too young to rule and deal with the likely challenge to the throne from William Duke of Normandy. Instead, Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex was crowned King Harold II. Harold was killed at the Battle of Hastings on 14th October 1066 and Edgar was proclaimed King of England. He was not crowned and his reign was short-lived because in December he was forced to submit to William of Normandy. William was crowned king on 25th December 1066.
In the Spring of 1068, Edgar, his mother and sisters, fled to Scotland where they were given the protection of King Malcolm III. Two years later King Malcolm married Edgar’s sister, Margaret. In 1072 William I invaded Scotland. Edgar feared for his life and fled to Flanders. He returned in 1074 and Malcolm persuaded Edgar to make peace with William and accept that he would never regain his crown. Edgar complied but deeply resented his position.
After the death of William I in 1086, Edgar gave his support to Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy, who disputed the succession of William Rufus to the English throne. A truce was eventually reached in 1091 and Edgar returned to England.
In 1093, Malcolm III of Scotland died and his brother Donald became King. Edgar decided to back the claim of Malcolm’s son, Duncan, that he should be King of Scotland but Duncan died in the attempt. Four years later, Edgar helped his nephew, Edgar to take the Scottish throne.
Edgar joined a crusade to Jerusalem in 1102. Four years later he supported Robert Curthose against King Henry I of England, Curthose was defeated and Edgar taken prisoner. He was later pardoned but nothing is known of his life after this time. He is believed to have died around 1125
First published 2017; updated and re-published Aug 09 2020 @ 2:10 pm – Updated –
Harvard Reference for this page:
Heather Y Wheeler. (2017 – 2020). Edgar Aetheling 1051 – 1126. Available: https://www.treesofblue.com/edgar-aetheling-1051-1126. Last accessed April 28th, 2021