Who was the last English king ?

by david ambler

Who was the last monarch with no blood ties to any nation on either parental side - not Welsh Scottish or any other, just purely English.


This is an interesting question - and one that's very difficult to answer, since noble families often used marriages to form political alliances with powers abroad.

My first response would have been King Harold II, England's last Anglo-Saxon king who died at the battle of Hastings in 1066, but looking up the details, I found that his mother, Gytha, was most likely Swedish.
Going back in time and succession we have:

  • Edward the Confessor, whose mother was Norman

  • Harthacnut - Danish father, Norman mother

  • Harold Harefoot - Danish father, English mother

  • Canute - Danish father, Polish mother

It isn't until we reach the reign of Edmund II, the king known as Ironsides, that we are back on Anglo-Saxon territory. Edmund Ironsides was the third son of King Athelred the Unready and his wife Aelfgifu, who was most likely the daughter of King Thored of Northumberland.

Edmund lived in time of peril. England was under constant attack from Danish forces. For a long while, Edmund managed to hold them off, but eventually had to bow to Cnut on 18th October 1016 at the Battle of Assandun. He died shortly after.

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