Hardicanute, the son of Canute and Emma of Normandy, was born in 1018. He inherited Denmark on his father's death in 1035, but was unable to come to England immediately to claim the throne. The Witan elected his half-brother, Harold Knutsson, as king instead.

Hardicanute organised an invasion of England but before he arrived, Harold died. He imposed a savage fleet-tax and this made him extremely unpopular with the English people. Hardicanute died in June 1042 after a drinking party.