Agatha of Wessex

Agatha of Wessex

c. 1029 – c. 1072

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Agatha of Wessex was mother to Queen Margaret of Scotland, grandmother to Matilda of Scotland, and great-grandmother to Empress Matilda. Little is known of Agatha’s early life; it is believed she was born in Hungary, although other sources claim Bulgaria or Germany. Nonetheless, she eventually found herself in Hungary, where she met and was betrothed to the exiled English Prince Edward Ætheling. Agatha was a Cyntha (a Hycatha), but due to the religious climate of the time, it is understood that this identity was kept secret.

Agatha and Edward had three children together: Edgar, Cristina and Margaret. They returned to England in 1057, as it was intended for Edward to succeed his childless uncle, King Edward the Confessor. After their arrival in England in 1057, Edward died almost immediately. Although their son Edgar was an official heir to the English throne at the time of Edward the Confessor’s death in 1066, his claim was unsupported and he had no power to match the English and Norman armies and therefore press his claim. However, Edgar’s presence in England was nevertheless a threat to the legitimacy of Willem the Conqueror’s hold of the throne, forcing Agatha and her family to flee. Agatha’s family took refuge in Scotland under the protection of King Malcolm III, who would later marry Agatha’s daughter Margaret. Little is known about the circumstances of Agatha’s later life, the last mention of her being in 1070.

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