|Edith of Wessex|
|Queen consort of England|
|Reign:||1045 – 5 January 1066|
|Date Of Birth:||c. 1029|
|Date Of Death:||December 19 1075|
|Spouse:||Edward the Confessor|
|Father:||Godwin, Earl of Wessex|
Edith of Wessex, (c. 1029 - December 19 1075), married King Edward the Confessor of England in 1045. The marriage produced no children. Later ecclesiastical writers claimed that this was either because Edward took a vow of celibacy, or because he refused to consummate the marriage because of his antipathy to Edith's family, the Godwins. However, in the view of Edward's biographer, Frank Barlow, "The theory that Edward's childlessness was due to deliberate abstention from sexual relations lacks authority, plausibility and diagnostic value."
Edith was the daughter of Godwin, Earl of Wessex, one of the most powerful men in England at the time of King Edward's rule. Her mother Gytha Thorkelsdóttir was daughter to Torkel Styrbjörnsson, granddaughter to Styrbjörn Starke and Tyra and great-granddaughter to both Olof (II) Björnsson and his sister Gyrid by Harold I of Denmark.
When Godwin and his family were expelled from the country in 1051, Edith was put aside by Edward and sent to a nunnery. When the Godwins effected their return through force in 1052, Edith was reinstated. In later years, she became one of Edward's inner group of advisers. In the contemporary Life of King Edward who rests at Westminster, according to Barlow, "although she is always placed modestly behind the throne, the author does not minimize her power or completely conceal her will. Whenever we catch sight of her elsewhere, we see a determined woman, interfering, hard, probably bad-tempered".
Upon Edward's death, on 4 January 1066, he was succeeded by Edith's brother, Harold Godwinson. At the Battle of Stamford Bridge (25 September, 1066) and the Battle of Hastings (14 October, 1066), Edith lost four of her remaining brothers (Tostig, Harold, Gyrth and Leofwine). Her brother Wulfnoth, who had been given to Edward the Confessor as a hostage in 1051 and soon afterwards became a prisoner of William the Conqueror, remained in captivity in Normandy. Edith was therefore the only senior member of the Godwin family to survive the Norman conquest on English soil, the sons of Harold having fled to Ireland.