Family tree for King Edward the Elder showing:
King Edward the Elder was born around 874 the eldest son of King Alfred the Great and Ealhswith of Mercia. Throughout his childhood England was subject to Viking attacks and Edward’s education included lessons on swordsmanship and other warrior tactics. By the age of 19 he was leading forces into battle.
Marriage and Family
Edward may have married for the first time in 893. Historians are divided as to whether or not he married Ecgwynn. Their son, Aethelstan, was born in 895 and it is believed they also had a daughter, Edith.
It is not known whether Ecgwynn was set aside or died, but in 899 Edward married Aelfflaed, the daughter of Ealdorman Aethelhelm of Wiltshire. They had six children during their 20 year marriage including Aelfweard of Wessex, born 904.
King of Wessex
Edward the Elder became King after the death of his father, Alfred, in 899. He faced a challenge to the throne from Aethelwold, his cousin, who had been considered too young to rule after his father Aethelred I. Aethelwold allied himself with the Vikings in the hope of defeating Edward but was killed in battle in 902.
The Viking attacks continued throughout the reign of Edward the Elder. He fought many battles and by the end of 917 he had managed to conquer and all land south of the River Humber.
In 918, Edward’s sister, Aethelflaed, Lady of the Mercians, died. Although her daughter, Aelfwynn was nominated her successor, Edward removed her and made himself King of Mercia. This united the kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia.
In 923 Edward received the submission of the Scottish King Constantine II. But he was unable to take Northumbria and died on 17th July 924 without achieving his father’s dream of uniting England under one ruler. That dream would be achieved by Edward’s eldest son Aethelstan.
First published 2017; republished Apr 22 2022 @ 4:45 pm – Updated –
Harvard Reference for this page:
Heather Y Wheeler. (2017 – 2021). King Edward the Elder Family Tree (874-924). Available: https://www.treesofblue.com/king-edward-the-elder-874-924. Last accessed May 26th, 2022