Gytha Thorkelsdottir Family Tree (997-1067)


Gytha Thorkelsdottir Family Tree

 Gytha Thorkelsdottir Family Tree showing:


Short Biography

Gytha Thorkelsdottir was born around 997, the daughter of the Danish Chieftan, Thorkel Sprakling. The identity of her mother is not known. Gytha’s brother, Ulf, married the sister of Canute and took part in Canute’s invasion of England. 

After Canute became King in 1016, Earl Godwin of Wessex swore allegiance and became one of Canute’s chief advisors. Gytha married Godwin of Wessex around 1020 and they had eleven children. After the death of Canute in 1035, Godwin switched his allegiance to each successive King – Harthacnut, Harold and Edward the Confessor.

In 1045 Gytha and Godwin’s daughter Edith married King Edward the Confessor. Earl Godwin died in 1053 and Gytha’s son, Harold became Earl of Wessex. When Edward died in January 1066 without an heir, Harold took the throne as King Harold II. This action annoyed William Duke of Normandy, who argued that Edward the Confessor had promised him the throne. Harald Hardrada of Norway also believed he had a claim to the throne.

Hardrada invaded in early September 1066 supported by Harold’s disgruntled brother Tostig. Harold marched north and defeated the invaders at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Hardrada and Tostig were both killed.

William invaded on 28th September 1066 and fought Harold at the Battle of Hastings on October 14th 1066. Harold and his brothers Gyrth and Leofwine were both killed in the battle. Gytha and Harold’s children fled to Exeter where they mounted an unsuccessful resistance to William. Gytha disappears from the records and it is believed she fled to the continent or died around 1067. 


Published Jun 28, 2017 @ 12:29 pm – Updated – May 27, 2024 @ 7:26 pm

Harvard Reference for Gytha Thorkelsdottir Family Tree:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2017 – ). Gytha Thorkelsdottir Family Tree (997-1067). Available: Last accessed July 14th, 2024