HAROLD I. (d. 1040), surnamed Harefoot, the illegitimate son of Canute, king of England, and AElfgifu of Northampton. On the death of his father in 1035, he claimed the crown of England in opposition to Canute’s legitimate son, Hardicanute. His claims were supported by Leofric, earl of Mercia, and the north; those of Hardicanute by his mother, Queen Emma, Godwine, earl of the West-Saxons and the south. Eventually Harold was temporarily elected regent, pending a final settlement on Hardicanute’s return from Denmark. Hardicanute, however, tarried, and meanwhile Harold’s party increased rapidly. In 1037 he was definitely elected king, and banished Emma from the kingdom. The only events of his brief reign are ineffectual inroads of the Welsh and Scots. Hardicanute was preparing to invade England in support of his claims when Harold died at Oxford on the 10th of March 1040.