Harald III

Harald III (Hardraade or Hardruler), b 1015, d 25 September 1066 in Stamfordbridge, England. King of Norway from 1045 to 1066. After the Danish victory in the Battle of Stiklestad (1030), Harald fled to Kyivan Rus’. There he headed the Varangian guard of Grand Prince Yaroslav the Wise, whose daughter Yelysaveta Yaroslavna he later married. Some of his poetry is extant, including a song he composed in Yelysaveta's honor, which was translated into Ukrainian by Ivan Franko. From Kyivan Rus’ he went to Constantinople, where for some 10 years he headed the Varangian guard of the Byzantine emperor Michael IV, becoming the most famous of the Varangians in the Byzantine service. In 1045 Harald returned through Kyivan Rus’ and Sweden to Norway and shared the kingdom with his nephew Magnus I; upon Magnus's death in 1047, he became sole ruler of Norway. He invaded England in 1066 and died in battle at Stamfordbridge, where the Norwegians were routed.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1989).]

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