Harthacanute was King of Denmark from 1035 to 1042 as well as King of England from 1040 to 1042. He was the only son of Canute the Great and Emma of Normandy. Harthacanute's reign belongs to the end story of England's Anglo-Saxon period and of an era when involvement with the countries of Scandinavia dominated external relations. Payment of the danegeld and constant invasion by Vikings often meant that England was more or less a vassal, or subject state. Historical force however now favored a closer relationship between England and continental Europe, which was to be achieved through Harthacanute's Norman relatives in the person of his mother's great-nephew, William I of England.
Arguably, had England remained an off-shore island culturally isolated from Europe, she would not have played the role she later did in world affairs, emerging as a major power and ultimately as a defender of freedom against tyranny in World War I and World War II.
According to the Divine Principle
, Britain played a providential role both in spreading the cultures of the Classic Age
throughout the world and also in fighting on God
's side in two World Wars. (see Exposition, pages 406; 370 and 372.) Harthacunute earned his place in history as a king of England but he achieved little during his brief reign. History was moving in a different direction. Part of the old direction, he was more an object than the subject of historical movement.