Since Godwin's daughter, Queen Edith, was the fruit of the union of two noble families, one English, one Danish, it might be expected that the tract she commissioned to eulogise her family, Vita Ædwardi Regis, would pay considerable attention to her forebears. In the prefatory poem, indeed, the Muse bids the author write in praise of Edith and her husband the king and tell how her father Godwin, ‘esteemed for his respect and loyalty (fidei pietate cluentem)’ founded four comital lines in England. 1 These are probably those of Harold, Tostig, Gyrth and Leofwine, for the disreputable eldest son, Swegen, is not mentioned in Vita. And, remarkably in this context, Godwin's own ancestors, like those of his wife, are completely ignored. Chapter i.1 begins abruptly with the Danish conqueror Cnut (who had established his position in England in 1016), choosing Godwin from among the English nobles as his favourite, taking him with him to put down a rebellion in Denmark (?1019), giving him his sister as wife, appointing him an ealdorman, and making him the power behind the throne. 2 But we have to wait for the third poem for Godwin to be described as ‘blessed in his ancestral stock and fortunate in his dutiful offspring’. 3 And then, although we hear much of the children, we are told nothing of the ancestral stock. There is massive evasion here. Not only is Godwin's background totally ignored, but also his wife is probably incorrectly identified. Gytha was more likely the daughter of Thurgils Sprakaleg and sister of the Danish jarl Ulf who married Estrith, Cnut's sister. 4 Moreover, although she was still alive in 1066, she is not named in Vita and rarely mentioned. The reasons for these silences, all the more remarkable since Edith clearly loved and revered her father, are discussed below. 5