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Ethelred II of England

Ethelred II the Unready
Rank: 15th
Ruled: March 18, 978-December 25, 1013
and February 2, 1014-April 23, 1016
Predecessor: Edward the Martyr
Date of Birth: 968
Place of Birth: Wessex
Wives: Elgiva and Emma
Buried: Old Saint Paul's Cathedral
Date of Death: April 23, 1016
Parents: Edgar and Elfrida

Ethelred II(Old English: Ĉŝelred), known as the Unready (968-1013 and 1014-1016), was a King of England.

According to William of Malmesbury, Ethelred defecated in the baptismal font as a child, which led St. Dunstan to prophesize that the English monarchy would be overthrown during Ethelred's reign.

Ethelred succeeded to the throne aged 10 following the death of his father King Edgar and subsequent murder of his half-brother Edward the Martyr. His nickname "The Unready" does not mean that he was ill-prepared, but derives from the Anglo-Saxon unrĉd meaning without counsel. This is also a pun on his name, the Anglo-Saxon form of his name, Ĉŝelred, which means "Well advised".

Ethelred had at least sixteen children from two marriages, the second of these, in 1002, being to Emma of Normandy, whose great-nephew, William I of England, would later use this relationship as the basis of his claim on the throne.

He attempted to buy off the Vikings by payment of what was to become known as Danegeld; he had little choice in the matter since he was unable to place any trust in his generals.

In 1013, Ethelred fled to Normandy, seeking protection by his brother-in-law, Robert of Normandy, when England was over-run by Svein Haraldsson of Denmark and his forces. He returned in February, 1014, following the death of Svein Haraldsson. Ethelred died on April 23, 1016, in London, where he was buried. He was succeeded by his son, Edmund II of England.

Preceded by:
Edward the Martyr
List of British monarchs Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Succeeded by:
Edmund II