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Emma of Normandy

Emma (c. 988-March 6, 1052), daughter of Richard I, Duke of Normandy, by his second wife Gunnora, was twice queen of England, by marriage first (1002-1016) to king Ethelred the Unready and then (1017-1035) to Canute, king also of Denmark and Norway. Two of her sons - one by each husband - and two step-sons also became king of England, as did her great-nephew.

Upon the Danish invasion of England in 1013, Emma took her sons by Ethelred - Alfred and Edward - to Normandy, where they remained upon her return to England to marry Canute, now king of England following the death of Ethelred and his son (her step-son) Edmund Ironside.

Following Canute's death, Alfred and Edward returned in 1036, possibly in an attempt to overthrow Canute's illegitimate son Harold Harefoot, who had established himself as ruler in the absence of Harthacanute, son of Canute and Emma. Alfred was captured and died after being blinded, while Edward escaped to Normandy, followed by his mother.

The death of Harold in 1040 and the accession of the more conciliatory Harthacanute paved the way for Edward's return to England the next year as co-ruler and (1042) king on Harthacanute's death. Emma returned to end her days at Winchester, Hampshire, where she was buried alongside Canute.

Emma's marriages and subsequent role forged the link between England and Normandy which was to culminate in her greatnephew William of Normandy's invasion of England in 1066.

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