King Cnut died in 1035. Godwine and the West Saxons chose Harthacnut, the son of Cnut and Emma to take his father's place, whilst the north and centre, headed by Leofwine's son, Leofric, Earl of the Mercians, chose Harold, the son of Cnut by an earlier wife or concubine. Godwine perhaps hoped that Harthacnut would make the West Saxon earldom the centre of the empire which had been his father's. Cnut's empire was, however, breaking up. The Norwegians chose Magnus, a king of their own race, and Harthacnut remained in Denmark to defend it against the attacks of Magnus.
In Normandy there
were two English Ethelings, Ælfred and Edward, the sons of Æthelred
by Emma, who seem to have thought that the absence of Harthacnut gave
them a chance of returning to England. Ælfred landed, but was seized
by Harold. He was blinded with such cruelty that he died.
His death was, truly or falsely, attributed to Godwine. As Harthacnut
still remained in Denmark, the West Saxons deposed him and gave
themselves to Harold, since which time England has never been divided.
In 1040 Harold died, and Harthacnut came at last to England to claim
the crown. He brought with him a Danish fleet, and with his sailors
and his house-carls he ruled England as a conquered land. He raised a
Danegeld to satisfy his men, and sent his house-carls to force the
people to pay the heavy tax. Two of them were killed at Worcester, and
he burnt Worcester to the ground. In 1042 he died 'as he stood at his
drink' at a bridal.
An Overview of Wines in Spain, 1882
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