Peoples and Nations

Harald Sigurdsson (Hardrada)

Harald Sigurdsson (Hardrada)

Famous for being a claimant to the English throne
Born - 1015, Norway
Parents - Sigurd Syr, Asta Gudbrandsdatter
Siblings - King Olaf
Married - 1. Elisaveta Yaroslavna 2. Tora Torbergsdatter
Children - Marriage 1 - Ingegerd
Marriage 2 - Magnus II, Olaf Kyrre
Died - 25th September 1066 Battle of Stamford Bridge aged 51 years

Harald was born in 1015, the youngest son of King Olaf II. In 1030 King Cnut of Denmark invaded Norway and King Olaf was killed in battle. Harald was wounded but managed to escape to Russia. He became a mercenary and as a result of his exploits became a wealthy man.

In 1045 Harald decided to return to Norway. He was welcomed back and shared the throne with his nephew Magnus. When Magnus died a year later in mysterious circumstances Harald ruled alone. He was given the nickname Hardrada because he was a hard ruler.

In 1066 Harald was visited by Harold Godwineson's brother Tostig who suggested that Harald should try to take the English throne. Harald had a claim to the English throne because Edward the Confessor, who had died childless in January 1066, had seized the English throne back from the Norwegian Harthacnut in 1042. Harthacnut was the son of King Cnut who had ruled England from 1016 - 1035. It was alleged that Harthacnut had promised the English throne to King Magnus I of Norway who had chosen not to fight Edward the Confessor for the throne.

In September 1066 Harald invaded the north of England. On 20th September he defeated the Anglo-Saxons led by Earls Morcar and Edwin at the battle of Fulfuord.

Upon learning of the invasion Harold Godwineson, King of England, hastily marched his troops north. On 25th September the English defeated the Vikings at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Harald Hardrada was killed.