Harold II was the second son of Godwin, Earl of Kent. Upon the death of Edward the Confessor in 1066, Harold took possession of the throne, disregarding the more legal claim of Prince Edgar Atheling, or the asserted bequest of Edward in favour of William, Duke of Normandy. The latter accordingly invaded England while Harold was engaged in the north in repelling an invasion of Harold Hardrada, king of Norway, supported by Tostig, the brother of Harold. The invaders were defeated at the battle of Stamford Bridge, and their leaders slain. Harold soon after heard of the Norman invasion, and marched southward without delay. He fell at the memorable battle of Hastings (more properly Senlac), Oct. 14, 1066; by which the conquest of the kingdom by the Normans was commenced.
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