St. Edward was born in 1003, the son of the Duke of Normandy and the nephew of King Edmund Ironside of England. From the age of 10, he lived in exile in Normandy, after the Danes gained control of England. This early experience of loss and his religious piety caused him to renounce worldly ambitions, and devote himself to God. 

When the Danish king Canute died in 1042, Edward was called to the throne of England. He accepted his duty and ruled until 1066. His sanctity made him a popular king — he abolished an unjust tax, and was said to be able to heal people with his touch.

Edward accepted marriage for the sake of his kingdom, but he had previously made a vow of chastity, so he lived in celibacy with his queen.

Edward had also made a vow to make a pilgrimage to St. Peter’s tomb, but he was unable to leave his people vulnerable to attack. The pope commuted his vow to rebuilding St. Peter’s Abbey in Westminster. A week after its dedication, Edward died, on January 5, 1066, and was buried there.