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Edwig All-Fair, King of the English
(AD 941-959)

Edwig All-Fair was the eldest son of King Edmund the Magnificent and St. Aelfgith. The handsome young man succeeded to his father's kingdom upon the death of his uncle, King Edred in AD 955. A confident and active fourteen-year-old, he became a master at alienating the rich and powerful.

Edwig's short reign got off to a shaky start when, after his coronation at Kingston-on-Thames, he quickly absented himself from the subsequent celebratory feast. The gathering of nobles and ecclesiastics were not a little affronted by this break with accepted protocol and Archbishop Oda sent Dunstan, the Abbot of Glastonbury, and Cynesige, the Bishop of Lichfield off to find the new King. Dunstan discovered the Royal youth in his private apartments in flagranté delicto with not only his lover, Aelfgith, but also her beautiful mother, Aethelgith! The ecclesiastics were horrified. Dunstan immediately ripped the bedclothes from the naked threesome and dragged Edwig away to fulfill his Royal obligations.

The monarch never forgave Dunstan and, later the same year, he banished him from the kingdom and confiscated all the lands of the Abbot's chief supporter, the Dowager Queen Edgith. Aethelstan Half-King, the Ealdorman of East Anglia, retired around the same time and it would appear that Edwig was attempting to establish a new circle counsellors mostly consisting of his own kin: notably Bishop Brithelm of Winchester and the brothers, Aelfheah the Seneschal, Ealdorman of Hampshire, and Aelfhere, the Ealdorman of Mercia. The shameless Lady Aelfgith was another relative - all were probably descendants of King Aethelred I - and in AD 957, Edwig married her. The influence of the unpopular Queen appears to have been considerable and, soon afterward, the Mercians and Northumbrians instigated a peaceful revolt which led to the establishment of Edwig's younger brother, Edgar, as King in their regions.

Edwig retained Wessex and nominal control of the whole country as Rex Anglorum. He continued to mint coins in both areas, but the days of his despotic rule were over. In AD 958, Archbishop Oda annulled the King's marriage on the feeble grounds of consanguinity. In reality, Edgar's supporters - worried about the possibility of an heir with Royal blood from both parents - seem to have brought pressure to bear. Edwig died under suspicious circumstances on 1st October AD 959.


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