Eadwig All-Fair

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Eadwig All-Fair was a king of England. A legend (or tradition) has it that Eadwig's coronation was delayed whilst the King was fetched from his chamber (by the formidable Archbishop Dunstan), where he was lying between his sweetheart (later his wife) Aelfgifu, and her mother Aethelgifu (who may have stayed on as the king's mistress).

In fact Eadwig had been fostered with his relative Eadric of Washington, whose wife was Aethelgifu and daughter was Aelgifu. Dunstan and Cynefyrth, Bishop of Lichfield were offended at Eadwig (then 16 years old) absenting himself from the coronation feast and burst in upon him in a back room with his foster-mother and sister, hauling him bodily away. The accounts by monks of this incident are slanted towards Dunstan - a man described by Sir Francis Palgrave as "partially insane" (or as we would say today "psychotic"), who no doubt wished to reassert his position of dominance enjoyed under King Eadred. They describe a scene of sexual corruption probably of their own imagination, also describing the "diadem" of England flung upon the floor. This is a very early reference to possibly the first crown of England, which may be the same as the "diadem" given as a diplomatic gift to King Athelstan. Eadwig banished Dunstan - who apparently saw the devil mocking him from the gates of Glastonbury Abbey, when nobody else could. Dunstan fled to Ghent, where he came into contact with the Benedictines. Eadwig then married Aelgifu. He attempted to create his own party by generous grants to courtiers and the Church, but supporters of Dunstan plotted his return by backing Eadwig's brother Edgar. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Odo the Severe, annulled Eadwig's marriage and "put away his strumpet" on the grounds of being within 9 degrees of consanguinity. Aelgifu was then facially disfigured and sold as a slave in Ireland. Eadwig's kingdom was split along the Thames with Edgar. However the Irish took pity upon Aelgifu and she returned. Whilst travelling to meet Eadwig her party was ambushed and she was murdered. Eadwig died shortly after hearing the news.We are not told how.

Preceded by:
Eadred

English Monarchs

Succeeded by:
Edgar the Peaceable