260 – King Edward’s Forgotten Love Life

Sometimes life comes at you fast. So much happens in such a short space of time that you barely have a chance to take note of where you’re at and, only after it’s all passed, only /then/ do you have a chance to say “oh my god, what /was/ all of that?”

I wonder if that’s what Edward’s life was like in late 902.

The death of his father, the push for the Crown, his elevation, the subsequent rebellion, the fight with the Danes of East Anglia and Northumbria (with the aid of his cousin), the construction of his mother’s abbey and the completion of his father’s abbey… and finally the death of his mother. It was a lot.

But here’s the thing. That’s not all of it. That’s just the stuff I’ve told you about so far.

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  1. As to the theory that Aelflaed was the granddaughter of King Aethelred, and therefore Edward’s first cousin once removed… that is a really fascinating theory and makes a lot of sense, but if it’s true I’m sure the Church would have had a fit. By the ninth century, weren’t people prohibited from marrying within seven degrees of separation? Meaning you couldn’t marry your sixth cousin, let alone anyone more closely related? Would Edward have been able to do that and still have his kids from that union go on to marry as well as they apparently did? How difficult would it have been to get a papal dispensation?… a set of questions that likely can’t be answered definitively due to a lack of records.

    1. Seven degrees of separation didn’t mean 6th cousins. From parent to child is one degree- siblings are 2 degrees, Aunt or uncle to nephew/niece is 3 degrees, 1st cousins are 4 degrees etc- so 2nd cousins are 6 degrees. And dispensations were always available for a price.

      1. Not at this time. Canon law followed civil law until the early ninth century, when the Western Church increased the number of prohibited degrees from four to seven. The method of calculation was also changed to simply count the number of generations back to the common ancestor. This meant that marriage to anyone up to and including a sixth cousin was prohibited. The Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 decreed a change from seven prohibited degrees back to four (but retaining the same method of calculating; counting back to the common ancestor).

  2. The later books in the Last Kingdom focus on Edward’s 2nd wife questioning the legitimacy of Aethelstan’s birth. Looking forward to Netflix continuing that far.

  3. Could the ceremony that Alfred had for his grandchild of had something to do with legitimising him? if at that point to be a king you had to be from a marriage union then if Edward and his mother weren’t married then legitimising him somehow would of been important…

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