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Hardicanute was the only son of Canute the Great and Emma of Normandy, daughter of Richard I, Duke of Normandy and widow of the English king Aethelred Unraed.

On his father's death, in 1035, he succeeded as King of Denmark, but a dispute with Magnus I of Norway meant he did not sail to England to claim that throne, but left his elder half-brother Harald Harefoot to rule there as his regent. Harald elected, in 1037, to take the throne in his own right, but, in 1040, whilst Hardicanute was on his way with an army to invade and depose him, Harald died. Hardicanute invaded anyway, had his brother disinterred, and had him hurled into a fen.

To pay for the invasion, he taxed the English heavily (they had, after all, accepted Harald as king, and necessitated all the expense). This made him unpopular and led to a revolt in Worcester which he suppressed viciously, almost levelling the entire town. This was in around 1041, and, to try to recover English support, he shrewdly enlisted another half-brother, Edward, to come over from Normandy to become his co-ruler. Edward arrived in the summer of 1042, just in time for Hardicanute to suffer a seizure, in July 1042, which rendered him dumb before he died abruptly.

He was buried at Winchester, and Edward, of good Saxon royal stock, assumed the throne of England, whilst Magnus of Normway took over in Denmark.

Preceded by:
Harald Harefoot

English Monarchs

Succeeded by:
Edward the Confessor