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Eadgyth (c.1022–75), queen of Edward the Confessor. Eadgyth was the eldest daughter of Earl Godwine, the most powerful nobleman of his day, and sister of Harold II. She married Edward in 1045 soon after his succession. There were rumours that the marriage was never consummated and certainly there were no children. She was disgraced with her family in 1051 but restored the following year. Eadgyth seems to have favoured her brother Tostig against Harold and, after his death at Stamford Bridge, transferred her support to William of Normandy. She spent the rest of her life in retirement at Winchester, which she held as part of her marriage settlement.

J. A. Cannon

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Eadgyth, known as ‘Swanneshals’ (‘Swan-neck’). Mistress of Harold II, Eadgyth probably bore all his children except his posthumous, legitimate son. After Harold was slain, she was given the task of finding his body and delivering it to William the Conqueror for burial. Eadgyth was the likely benefactress of St Benet's abbey, granted Thurgarten in her native Norfolk.

Audrey MacDonald