This king of England is arguably best known for dying – as he did so in 1066 and precipitated a seriously bloody contest for the throne. It was also after his death that he picked up the sobriquet ‘Confessor’.
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The name was nothing to do with owning up to a mistake or admitting to a crime, but was a celebration of his deep piety. (It also helped him stand apart from another king, Edward the Martyr.)
In 1161, the now-venerated Edward was canonised by Pope Alexander III – and a ‘confessor’ was a title given to a saint who had not been martyred. Simple as that.