Describe the military conquest of England by William I.
William, duke of Normandy, had a claim on the throne of England when Edward the Confessor (his cousin) died. But Edward, contrary to an alleged promise to William, named Harold, earl of Wessex (who had also promised William to support his claim) king on his deathbed. William, securing the blessing of the Pope, put together an invasion force. Simultaneously, Harald Hardrada of Norway launched an invasion to assert his own claim to the throne and to support Tostig, the half-brother and bitter rival of Harold. Harold rushed to meet Harald's invasion, and defeated his army at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. No sooner had he defeated the Norwegian force than William's troops landed. William defeated Harold, who perished on the battlefield, at the Battle of Hastings. He then marched to London, where he was crowned King of England on Christmas Day 1066.