(I posted this at The American Catholic and I thought the history mavens of Almost Chosen People might enjoy it.)
Nine hundred and fifty years since the Norman Conquest and it may be all the fault of my bride’s family! She is a descendant of Norwegian King Harold Hardrada (Hard Ruler), a true swashbuckler whose exploits ranged from Constantinople to the Arctic Circle. He lived as a Viking although after he became King he was sympathetic to Christianity. The golden age of Hollywood missed a great movie on his life with Errol Flynn in the starring role. The Norman victory at Hastings may not have been possible but for his invasion of England in alliance with Tostig, the brother of English King Harold Godwinson. Harold Hardrada was defeated by Harold Godwinson at Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire, losing the battle and his life. The battle was fought on September 25, 1066. Harold Godwinson left much of his forces in the north to guard against any further Norwegian raids. By the time of the Battle of Hastings on October 14, 1066, Harold’s force was weary from fighting and forced marching and much smaller than it would have been but for Harold Hardrada’s intervention. If Harold had won, who knows, perhaps my bride would now be part of British royalty! However, in that reality she almost certainly would never have married me. I selfishly prefer this reality!