Aethelwald was the eldest son of Ethelred of Wessex, Alfred the Great's predecessor and older brother. He was also the cousin of Edward the Elder of Wessex. Aethelwald fought his cousin during much of his early reign because he felt that he had more right to inherit the throne. When the throne was passed to Edward in 899 Aethelwald went to the Danelaw and was installed by them as King of Northumbria. In 890 he attacked Wessex with his Danish Allies. He defeated Edward but managed to die in battle, thus allowing Edward to secure his position. His younger brother Aethelhelm chose not to challenge Edward for the throne and continued to reside in Wessex as Ealdorman of Wiltshire.

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