Succeeded his father Aethelberht c.617 and reigned until 640. His first action was to marry his father's widow (i.e. his stepmother), which was not uncommon under pagan conventions. This form of marriage was the subject of the fifth question put by Augustine to pope Gregory, and received the answer that it was a grave sin. When the king converted to Christianity, the marriage was annulled, and he married Emma, the daughter of a Frankish king. Bede commented that Eadbald had ‘less royal power’ than his father and found himself unable to restore Christian worship throughout his kingdom. But when his sister Aethelburga married Edwin of Northumbria, Eadbald insisted that she should be free to practise Christianity and sent Paulinus with her as chaplain and evangelist.
From The Kings and Queens of Britain in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: British History.