Sunday, 10 October 2010

Nine Things You Didn't Know About Edward the Confessor

7. King Edward agreed to marry Godwin’s daughter Edith (Eadgyth) as a gesture of reconciliation after his brother’s death. Medieval writers are divided on whether Edith shared the difficult temperament exhibited by her father and brothers: one chronicle (a forgery, but possibly based on an authentic source), praises her generosity and sweet nature, and quotes a line of verse written about her which marks the difference between her and her family: "sicut spina rosam, genuit godwinus egitham" (roughly: 'as thorns [bring forth] roses, so did Godwin beget Edith').

Others considered her, in the words of Edward's modern biographer Frank Barlow, "a determined woman, interfering, hard, probably bad-tempered".

Either way, it was not a successful marriage. It followed the course of Edward's troubled relationship with the rest of Godwin's family: when Edith's brothers were exiled for their disruptive behaviour, he put Edith aside; when they returned, he took her as his wife again. But the marriage produced no children and tradition says it was never consummated. For this reason, Edward is the patron saint of troubled marriages and separated spouses.

(I blame Godwin).

No comments: