Cnut III
Cnut III
King of Anglia
Reign 3rd May, 1130 - 6th December, 1161
Predecessor Charles I of Anglia
Successor Cnut IV
Born April, 1121
Bruges, Flanders
Died 6th December, 1161
Lincoln, Anglia
Spouse Joanna of Montferrat

Marianna of Lund

Issue Emma Cnutsdotter

Charles Cnutsson
Cnut IV Cnutsson
Richeza Cnutsdotter
Harold Cnutsson
Sophia Cnutsdotter

Full name
Cnut Karlsson
House Estridsson
Father Charles I of Anglia
Mother Alftruda Sweynsdotter

Cnut III's reign over Anglia and Flanders was a time of changing attitudes within Britannia and the Low Countries. The war with France that had defined his father's reign was smoothed over. While still a minor Cnut was betrothed to Joanna of Montferrat, the half-sister of the Queen of France, and this union appeared to dissipate much of the mistrust between Cnut and Louis VI.

Indeed, Cnut had excellent relations with Louis's son Philip II, however once he left France to go on crusade the tensions between the eventual queen, Adele, and her lords broke out into civil war. Cnut had wished to intervene on Adele's side, perhaps to secure a marriage and an alliance but his nobles were less than willing and the Witenage withheld taxes.

Their attentions lay instead with Normandy. The duchy was growing in strength and influence and under the dynamic William III looked for territory to match their ambitions. An aborted attempt by the Normans to capture Flanders for themselves had been averted by Louis VI's diplomacy but tensions remained high. As the French Civil War took hold Duke William III took the opportunity in 1150 to invade once more. The Normans made good progress across southern Flanders while Cnut's forces were still being collected in Essex. Once favourable winds appeared in the autumn Cnut could land and support the Flemish host gathered hastily during the summer. The Normans were defeated at in a close run battle at Waregem. Over the winter the Norman held fortresses fell to the Anglo-Flemish army and eventually in the spring they were at the Norman borders. William III was unhorsed at the messy Battle of Monsterole (3rd March 1151) and, captured by Cnut's forces, his nobles sued for peace. Cnut added a few more settlements to his Artesië fief but did not press the advantage, he was, as his advisors pointed out, dangerously isolated in the Low Countries. Meanwhile the young king of Wessex, Henry I was heavily influenced by his Norman relations and relations between Anglia and Wessex became bleaker, with disastrous results for Cnut IV in the future.

There were also disputes with Scotland over issues arising from overlapping lordships in Cumbria but these are were settled without recourse to arms. More serious was a long-running dispute with Rome over Cnut's preferred choice for Archbishop of York. The growing influence of the Cistercian monastic order aimed for greater autonomy from the crown and had Papal support whereas Cnut regarded investiture as his right. He refused to allow the Papal-appointed archbishop Thomas into the Anglian realm and instead he went to Canterbury, further deteriorating Anglian-Wessex relations. Eventually Cnut backed down, Thomas had been appointed a Papal legate and the Anglian nobles were becoming impatient with the endless stand-off.

Away from the battlefield Cnut was regarded as a modest leader. Happy to sit with nobles and servants alike his manner bred loyalty amongst his nobles on both sides of the channel. A great patron of the church he planned great improvements to the cathedrals in Lincoln and London although a shortage of money would scale back these in the end. His marriage to Joanna of Montferrat produced four children and after her death in 1147 Cnut married again to Marianna of Lund. This marriage produced another two children however Marianna was ambitious and her attempts to have her son recognised as heir over Joanna's children alienated much of the Anglian nobility.

Cnut III died in December 1161 of a fever. He would be succeeded by his second son (Charles having died in 1156), Cnut IV.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.