B. c.1018, s. of Cnut and Emma of Normandy; acc. Mar. 1040; d. 8 June 1042; bur. Winchester.
About seventeen when his father died, Harthacnut was in Denmark. His mother attempted to protect his interests, but was at length driven into exile by his half-brother Harold, who claimed first a regency and then the throne. Harthacnut was preparing to invade in March 1040 when his rival died; he landed at Sandwich in June and was acknowledged as king. Taxation was racked up to fierce levels. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle related that Harthacnut had his predecessor's body dug up and ‘cast into a marsh’; the same source added that ‘he never did anything worthy of a king’ and that he died in 1042, while drinking, ‘with horrible convulsions’. He was buried with his father at Winchester.
Subjects: British History.