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Edith of Wessex

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Edith of Wessex, (c. 1029 – December 19, 1075), married King Edward the Confessor of England in 1045. The marriage produced no children. Some claimed that this was because Edward took a vow of celibacy, but modern historians have postulated alternative hypotheses, one being that Edward refused to consummate the marriage because of his antipathy to Edith's family, the Godwines.

Edith was the daughter of Godwin, Earl of Wessex, one of the most powerful men in England at the time of King Edward's rule. Her mother Gytha Thorkelsdóttir was daughter to Torkel Styrbjörnsson, granddaughter to Styrbjörn Starke and Tyra and great-granddaughter to both Olof Björnsson and his sister Gyrid by Harold I of Denmark.

When Godwine and his family were expelled from the country in 1051, Edith was put aside by Edward and sent to a nunnery. When the Godwines effected their return through force in 1052, Edith was reinstated.

Upon Edward's death, on January 4, 1066, he was succeeded by Edith's brother, Harold Godwinson. At the Battle of Stamford Bridge on September 25, 1066 and the Battle of Hastings on October 14, 1066, Edith lost her four remaining brothers (Tostig, Harold, Gyrth and Leofwine). She was therefore the only senior member of the Godwine family to survive the Norman conquest of England, the sons of Harold having fled to Ireland.

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