Also known as Harold II of England, Harold was born at Bosham, West Sussex ("In the Footsteps of King Harold": c. 1020), in about 1022, second child to Godwin [Godwine], the powerful Earl of Wessex, and his wife Gytha (Ancestral Roots 6). He had many siblings, as listed below. Note: Harold's birth seems to conflict with that of Sweyn [Swegen], the elder brother of Harold; Sweyn's birth has been moved back two years from what some publications show. Discerning these birth dates has always been problematic at best (The House of Godwine 35).
- Sweyn (c. 1021 – 1052): brother, Earl of Herefordshire
- Gunhilda [Gunnhilda] (c. 1024 – 24 Aug 1087): sister, nun
- Tostig (c. 1026 – 25 September 1066): brother, Earl of Northumbria
- Edith [Eadgyth] (c. 1030 – 19 December 1075): sister, Queen consort of Edward the Confessor
- Gyrth (c. 1030 – 14 October 1066): brother, Earl of East Anglia, Cambridgeshire and Oxfordshire
- Ælfgifu [Aelfgyva, Elgiva] (c. 1026 – c. 1066): sister
- Marigard (6 February 1033 – 6 August 1083): sister
- Leofwine (c. 1035 – 14 October 1066): brother, Earl of Kent
- Wulfnoth (c. 1040 – c. 1094): brother, in captivity most of life in Normandy; died still in captivity in Salisbury, England
Little is known of the childhood of Harold. Clearly he was trained in matters of leadership and government, although much of this was most likely innate. His father had climbed his way in power, from a low position in the Saxon aristocracy ("The battle of Hastings") to being at least the second most powerful man in England (Anglo-Saxon England 561). His mother was a close kin to King Canute [Cnut or Knut], a Danish king who succeeded Edmund II Ironside as king of England in 1016 ("Harold II").