Æthelwulf (ĕˈthəlwŏlf, ăˈ–) [key], d. 858, king of Wessex (839–56), son and successor of Egbert; father of Æthelbert, Æthelred, and Alfred. He was lord of Kent, Surrey, Sussex, and Essex before his father's death in 839. As king of Wessex he was compelled to defend his realm against constant Danish attacks, and he won a notable victory over them at Aclea in 851. He also campaigned against the Welsh. A man of great piety, he went with his son Alfred to Rome in 855. In 856 he took as his second wife Judith, daughter of Charles II (Charles the Bald) of France. Learning before his return to England that his son Æthelbald, who had ruled in his absence, would resist his resumption of the kingship, Æthelwulf left his son as king of Wessex and himself ruled only in Kent and its dependencies, where Æthelbert succeeded him.
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