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Emma of Normandy

Emma of Normandy (d. 1052), queen of Æthelred II and of Cnut. Emma played an important role in the confused succession to the English throne between 1016 and 1066. Early in life she became the second wife of Æthelred II (1002). Her first son, Edward, succeeded to the English throne in 1042: her great-nephew was William the Conqueror. After the death of Æthelred in 1016 she married Cnut. On his death in 1035, Emma tried to obtain the kingdom for their son Harthacnut, who was then about 16. In 1037 she was obliged to take refuge in Flanders but returned with Harthacnut in 1040. When he died two years later, her first son, from whom she was alienated, took the throne. Much of her property was seized and she lived in retirement at Winchester, where she was buried with her second husband, Cnut. Henry of Huntingdon called her ‘the gem of the Normans’.

J. A. Cannon

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