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Younger people 'know more about Game of Thrones than 1066'

Published 05/01/2016

This year marks the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings
This year marks the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings

The year 1066 is the most famous in English history but younger people know more about Game of Thrones characters than those fighting for England's crown, a survey suggests.

A poll to mark the 950th anniversary of the events that culminated in William the Conqueror becoming king of England after victory at the Battle of Hastings found a third of people (34%) picked 1066 as the most memorable date in English history.

That puts the date well ahead of second-placed 1945, marking the end of the Second World War, which was chosen by 8% of the 2,053 people quizzed.

Questioned on the events of 1066, 38% of people could name William of Normandy - who became known as the Conqueror - as a claimant to the English throne.

A quarter (25%) identified Harold Godwinson, the last Anglo-Saxon king of England who reigned for less than a year and was killed at the Battle of Hastings, while 15% knew Edward the Confessor was the king whose death prompted the events of 1066.

But the poll found other players in the struggle to rule England in the 11th century are less well known than claimants to the throne in the Game of Thrones TV series.

Only 9% of people identified Harald Hardrada, King of Norway who attempted to regain the Viking kingdom of England, and just 3% named Edgar the Aetheling, Edward's closest living relative.

But 14% could name Joffrey Baratheon, 13% Stannis Baratheon, 12% Robert Baratheon and Daenerys Targaryen and 9% Robb Stark as characters who had sat on or had a claim to the Iron Throne in Game of Thrones.

Among 24 to 35-year-olds, only 15% could identify Harold Godwinson, and 17% Edward the Confessor from 1066, while 23% could identify Joffrey and Stannis Baratheon and 22% knew of Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones.

The online poll by ICM Research was carried out to mark the 950th anniversary of the death of Edward the Confessor who died peacefully on January 5 1066, having reigned since 1042.

Jeremy Ashbee, senior properties curator for English Heritage, said: "1066 is arguably the most important date in England's history.

"The death of King Edward the Confessor 950 years ago today unleashed a battle for the crown of England.

"1066 was a year that saw four different claimants for one throne, brother fighting brother, and three battles, including a decisive one outside Hastings.

"For drama, it was the equal of anything in Game of Thrones."

English Heritage is marking the anniversary of the Norman Conquest with a year of events and activities at Norman sties and buildings, including the Battle of Hastings battlefield, and has launched an information hub at www.english-heritage.org.uk/1066

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