Edward the Exile

son of King Edmund Ironside and of Ealdgyth

Edward the Exile (January 1016[1] – 19 April 1057), also called Edward Ætheling, was the son of King Edmund Ironside and of Ealdgyth. He spent most of his life in exile following the defeat and death of his father by Canute.

Edward the Exile depicted on a medieval genealogical scroll.

Life in exileEdit

After the Danish conquest of England in 1016, Canute had Edward and his brother, Edmund, sent to the Swedish court of Olof Skötkonung. Edward was a baby at the time.[2] Canute's agents apparently had orders to have the children murdered. But they were quickly taken to Hungary where neither Canut or his agents could reach them.[3] He was brought up at the Hungarian court.[a][3] Edward married Agatha, a relative of Emperor Henry II.[2]

Edward the Confessor, King of England, had no children. Edward, his nephew, was his nearest living relative. The King wanted to make Edward his heir.[5] In 1057, the king's messengers reached Edward living in Hungary.[6] Edward agreed to return to England and in 1057 arrived in London with his family. But a few days after their arrival Edward was killed.[6]


He and Agatha had three children, Edgar the Atheling, Margaret of Scotland and Cristina, Abbess of Romsey Abbey.[7] In the summer of 1068 his son Edgar took his mother and sisters and escaped to Scotland.[8]


  1. There have been many theories where Edward and his brother were during their exile. There are also many theories about who Agatha his wife was. Some claim that Agatha was daughter or sister of either Emperor Henry. It seems unlikely that his sibling or daughter would have been ignored by the German chroniclers.[4]


  1. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/132672907/edward-aetheling
  2. 2.0 2.1 John Cannon; Anne Hargreaves, The Kings and Queens of Britain (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), p. 80
  3. 3.0 3.1 Frank Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England, Third Edition (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1971), p. 397
  4. Edward Augustus Freeman, The History of the Norman Conquest: its causes and its results, Third Edition, Revised (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1877), pp. 668-673.
  5. Martin Collier, Changing Times 1066-1500 (Oxford: Heinemann, 2003), p. 20
  6. 6.0 6.1 David Hughes, The British Chronicles, Volume 1 (Westminster, MD: Heritage Books, 2007), p. 299
  7. Florence (of Worcester, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: The Chronicle of Florence of Worcester ([London: Seeleys, 1853), p. 121
  8. Frank Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England, Third Edition (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1971), p. 601