This week is the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Sophie (aged 7) & Ellie (age 5) tell the story of William the Conqueror, King Harold and Harald Hardrada’s fight for the English throne.
Edward the Confessor is old. He has no children. Harold wants to be the King after him and is a powerful Saxon noble. But William, Duke of Normandy is Edward’s Cousin and has a claim to the throne. Meanwhile the powerful King of Norway, Harald Hardrada wants to see Viking rule again over England. Three powerful men desire the throne.
But a few years before 1066 everything is complicated when Harold is ship wrecked in Normandy. He is “rescued” by William. And swears an oath to support William’s claim to the throne. Was he forced to make this oath? Sophie thinks so. But Ellie thinks that a pinky promise is a pinky promise.
When Edward dies, Harold is proclaimed King. William is furious and prepares to invade. Harold waits for him in the south. But Harald Hardrada, in concert with Harold’s estranged brother Tostig, lands in the North. The Viking army defeats the local saxon forces. Harold quickly marches his troops north. He catches the Vikings unprepared. The Viking army is slaughtered. Hardrada and Tostig are both killed. Harold has killed one of his rivals. But now he learned that William has landed in the south of England near Hastings.
Harold rushes his army south. And meets William in battle. Sophie and Ellie tell the gripping story of the battle. We hear how the initial Norman attacks are defeated. But we also learn how the Norman’s pretend to run away and draw some of the Saxons off the hill. This weakens their shield wall. Then the Norman archers shoot into the air, further depleting the Saxon ranks. Finally the Norman knights break into the Saxon lines and kill them. Harold himself is killed – maybe by an arrow in his eye.
The Normans are victorious. Saxon England has falled. William is the Conqueror.
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