Return to the Battle of Hastings

Harold Swears Fealty

"Edward, king of the English, by the will of God having no heir, had in the past sent Robert, archbishop of Canterbury to the duke, to appoint him heir to the kingdom given to him by God. But he also, at a later date, sent to him Harold, the greatest of all earls in his realm in wealth, honour, and power, that he should swear fealty to the duke concerning his crown and, according to the Christian custom, pledge it with oaths."

William of Jumièges, Gesta Normannorum Ducum

A crucial moment in the narrative of the Bayeux Tapestry: Harold swears an oath of fealty to William on two reliquary shrines of Bayeux Cathedral. William of Poitiers adds that the duke also promised his daughter Adeliza as Harold's wife.

Harold's supporters maintained that Harold was in Normandy, not to confirm William's right to the English throne, but only as a result of shipwreck and had sworn under duress.