How successful was Edward the confessor in dealing with his problems? By Daniel Beer
Edward the Confessor did not really solve or deal with his problems as King of England very well. Edward the Confessor was a strong but often ruthless Monarch. He managed to restore the Royal authority of the House of Wessex, which had been weakened after years of Danish rule. In his early years Edward restored the traditional strong monarchy, showing himself as vigorous and ambitious man. Edward's reputation has been unfairly tarnished by the Norman Conquest shortly after his death, although not all of it was necessarily untrue. Edward spent much of his time on the continent and lacked the immediate authority to rule England effectively. At the time, the Earls enjoyed a great deal of power for example the Godwin family. This shows how far their authority reflected a weakness in Edward. This shows as King he is taking a step backwards and gives more responsibilities to the Earls. However, this could be balanced against Edward’s ability to gain sufficient support to force the Godwin’s into temporary exile. It might there be concluded that Edward managed the Earls as well as might be expected. Furthermore, Earl Godwin did exert a powerful influence from 1052 after his return from exile and Harold became very influential. This plunged the country into the succession crisis, although how far it was his fault might also be considered. There was some focus on Edwards’s failure to provide a direct heir to the throne when he died. Even though there was still an element of election made by Edward as the King not the Witen appointing an successor as William of Normandy was promised the throne in 1051 and then again in 1064 by Edward and then appointing Harold the next King on his death bed. Harold exercised a powerful position as the pre-eminent Anglo-Saxon earl, second to the King, but his position was not paramount during the reign of Edward. He was strong enough to make a bid...
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