|Harold was the son of King Cnut and Ælfgifu,
who was considered by contemporaries not quite legitimate as
Cnut married the widow of King
Æthelred Unræd, Emma, in 1017.
Cnut was concerned that his other son, Harthacnut,
succeed him in England in compliance with his pre-marital
agreement with Emma. In absence of Harthacnut, who was in
Denmark, Harold was recognized as king north of the River
Thames. The meeting of Witan at Oxford confirmed Harold's
regency over all England, but it took two more years (1037)
before he was recognized 'as king everywhere'. Harold was
kept responsible for the murder of Ælfred (1036/1037), a
younger son of Æthelred Unræd, who was seen as another royal
claimant. There was not much recorded of Harold's reign
except for a dispute with the church over the ownership of
lands at Sandwich.