Edward the Confessor was born son to Ethelred the Redeless (i.e., the Unready) and Emma of Normandy, at Islip, Kettering, Northamptonshire, England in about 1003. He was described as being of "medium height" ("English Monarchs"), which probably would most likely have placed him somewhere around about 5'6" (Common Myths). Certain writings indicate he was an albino ("This Sceptred Isle"), with hair notable for its milky whiteness.
When 12 years old, he went with his father into exile in 1016. He was brought up in Normandy from that time until 1042, when he obtained the throne of England. During this time, he acquired the tastes and appearance of his Norman relations. In fact, he was quite fond of them, including his second cousin, William the Bastard (later William the Conqueror). This fondness can be seen in various actions in his life, described in more detail below. Hardicanute, son of his mother's second marriage to King Canute and half-brother to Edward, brought him back to England from exile in 1041, welcoming him to his court.