Ethelred II the Unready of England 2049,3019
- Born: Cir 968
- Marriage (1): Elfgifu circa 985
- Marriage (2): Emma of Normandy on 5 Apr 1002 in Winchester Cathedral, London, England
- Died: 23 Apr 1016, London, England
Another name for Ethelred was Aethelred Unraed.
King of the English from 978 to 1013 and from 1014 to 1016. He was an ineffectual ruler who failed to prevent the Danes from overrunning England. The epithet "unready" is derived from unraed, meaning "evil counsel."
The son of King Edgar (ruled 959-975), Ethelred ascended the throne upon the assassination of his half brother King Edward the Martyr in March 978. Widespread suspicion that Ethelred may have had a part in the murder created much of the distrust and disloyalty that undermined his authority. Hence, there was no unified defense when the Danish invasions resumed in 980.
Nearly all of the country was ravaged, and Ethelred's efforts to buy peace only made the invaders more rapacious. When they did begin to settle down in towns, Ethelred provoked further invasions by launching a massacre of Danish settlers (Nov. 13, 1002). By the end of 1013 the Danish king Sweyn I had been accepted as king in England, and Ethelred had fled to Normandy. After Sweyn died in February 1014, Ethelred's council of advisers invited him to return to the throne on condition that he agree to satisfy their grievances. At the time of Ethelred's death in 1016, Sweyn's son Canute was ravaging England. Ethelred was succeeded by his son Edmund II Ironside (ruled 1016); one of his other sons ruled England as Edward the Confessor from 1042 to 1066.
Noted events in his life were:
• Acceded: King, 978.
• Deposed: 1013-1014.
Ethelred married Elfgifu circa 985.
Ethelred next married Emma of Normandy, daughter of Richard I the Fearless of Normandy and Gunnor of Crępon, on 5 Apr 1002 in Winchester Cathedral, London, England. (Emma of Normandy was born circa 985 in Normandy, France, died on 14 Mar 1052 in Winchester, Hampshire, England and was buried in Winchester, Hampshire, England.)