From the Bayeux Tapestry
Well, The Battle of Hastings is upon us and is actually now passed. William has defeated Harold though the people of England won't hear the news for a little while. Some might say William won by luck and others by cunning. Either way, the Norman influence will now be felt until today. (and including the future...ahem...cf. Matthew 1:25)
But did Harold live? An old legend may not be accurate but as old legends go...they are quite fun...
A cult of hero-worship rose around Harold, and by the 12th century, legend says that Harold had indeed survived the battle, had spent two years in Winchester after the battle recovering from his wounds, and then traveled to Germany, where he spent years wandering as a pilgrim. As an old man, he supposedly returned to England, and lived as a hermit in a cave near Dover. As he lay dying, he confessed that although he went by the name of Christian, he had been born Harold Godwinson. Various versions of this story persisted throughout the Middle Ages, and have little claim to fact.
Myths like these are as much part of our history as the real stuff. Gotta love em!
The whole story of the Battle is tied to the Church because upon his death, (supposedly) King St. Edward the Confessor (beatified 1161 A.D.) promised the throne to William. Harold either didn't want to acknowledge that or didn't like it and decided to ascend instead. William complained and the Pope gave his O.K. for the invasion. William, the Papal "choice" for England succeeded. You could claim, as he did, that he was the rightful heir anyway.
Read the whole article on King Harold II, the last of the Saxon kings!