King Edward the Confessor Family Tree & Biography 1003-1066


King Edward the Confessor was a member of the House of Wessex. He was the son of King Aethelred the Unready by his second wife Emma of Normandy. He became King of England following the death of his half-brother Harthacnut on 8th June 1042. 


King Edward the Confessor Family Tree Image showing:

grandparents, parents, siblings, half-sibling and wife

Edward the Confessor Family Tree


King Edward the Confessor Family Tree in Table Form showing:

grandparents, parents, siblings, half-sibling and wife



Paternal Grandfather – King Edgar – (943 – 975)

Paternal Grandmother – Aelfthryth of Devon – (945 – 1000)

Maternal GrandfatherRichard Duke of Normandy – (933 – 996)

Maternal Grandmother – Gunnora of Normandy – (c950 – 1031)


Father – King Aethelred the Unready – (966 – 1016)

Mother – Emma of Normandy – (985 – 1052)


Godgifu of Boulogne – (1004 – 1047)

Alfred Aetheling – (1005 – 1037)


from his father’s first marriage

Aethelstan – (985 – 1014)

King Edmund Ironside – (990 – 1016)

Edgar – (d. 1012)

Eadred – (d. 1012)

Eadwig – (d. 1017)

Ecgberht – (d. 1005)

Edgyth of Mercia – (995 – 1022)

Aelfgifu of Northumbria – (997 – 1042)

Wulfhilda – (998 – 1042)

from his mother’s second marriage

King Harthacnut – (1018 – 1042)

Gunhilda of Germany – (1020 – 1038)


Edith Godwinson – (1025 – 1075)


No children


No grandchildren


Edward the Confessor Short Biography

King Edward the Confessor Family Tree

Early Years

Edward the Confessor was born in 1003 (exact date not known) the eldest son of King Aethelred the Unready by his second wife Emma of Normandy. He was known as the Confessor because he was deeply religious and founded Westminster Abbey.

His father’s reign had been subject to repeated Viking invasions and in December 1013 Sweyn Forkbeard declared himself King of England having conquered most of the country. Edward, his parents and brother and sister fled to Normandy.

When Sweyn Forkbeard died in 1014, the Witan refused to accept Forkbeard’s son Canute as King and called for King Aethelred to re-take the throne. Aethelred accepted and the family returned to England.

Normandy Years

In 1016 King Aethelred the Unready died. He was succeeded by his eldest son by his first wife, Edmund Ironside. Canute soon challenged Edmund for the crown and although he took the north he was unable to take the south. Edmund and Canute agreed to share the rule but when Edmund died later that year, Canute became King of all England. Once again, Edward and his siblings fled to Normandy for safety.

Edward spent his years in Normandy training with the sword and shield and hoping for a chance to invade England and reclaim the throne. When Canute died in 1035, Edward and his brother planned an invasion. They set sail in late 1036 hoping to topple King Harold Harefoot, who had taken the throne in Harthacnut’s absence. Edward headed for Southampton while Alfred sailed to Dover. When Alfred landed he was met by Earl Godwin who blinded him and sent him to the Isle of Ely where he died in 1037. Edward returned to Normandy.  

In 1041, Edwards younger half-brother, King Harthacnut, who had become King of England on the death of Harold Harefoot, invited Edward to England where he was nominated as heir to the throne.

King of England

Edward the Confessor succeeded as King of England when Harthacnut died on 8th June 1042. He gained the loyalty of Earl Godwin of Wessex by marrying his daughter, Edith. In 1051 Edward was visited by Eustace of Boulogne and a number of Norman noblemen. On their return journey there was a brawl with a number of men in Dover which resulted in several Normans being killed. Edward ordered Earl Godwin to punish the people of Dover but he refused. The Godwin family were banished and Edith was placed in a convent.

A year later the Godwin family returned to England with a large force. Edward could not raise enough men to defeat the Godwins and had to negotiate a settlement. The Godwin family returned and were restored to their lands and titles. Edith returned as Queen.

Later Years

By the last decade of his reign, Edward had retired from public life and left much of the running of the country to his nobles. Instead he concentrated his energy on the building of Westminster Abbey which he had founded in 1052. Sadly he was too ill to see the Abbey consecrated in December 1065.

Edward the Confessor died on 5th January 1066 and was buried in Westminster Abbey the following day. Harold Godwinson claimed that as he was dying Edward had nominated Edward him King. The Witan accepted the claim and Harold succeeded as King of England.


Published Jul 31 2020 @ 8:39 pm – Updated – May 27, 2024 @ 6:21 pm


Harvard Reference for King Edward the Confessor Family Tree:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2020 – 2024). King Edward the Confessor Family Tree & Biography (1003-1066). Available: Last accessed July 12th, 2024