The real history that inspired Netflix’s The Last Kingdom


Though The Last Kingdom was incessantly in comparison with Recreation of Thrones when it first aired in 2015, there’s one large distinction distinguishing the 2 exhibits: one is pure fantasy and one is inspired by real British history.

The Last Kingdom options a number of the most well-known and influential figures from the early years of England, incorporating them into the fictional story of its lead character, Uhtred of Bebbanburg.

We’ve rounded up essentially the most outstanding characters from the primary 4 seasons to see how they evaluate to the real folks they’re primarily based on – beware, there are some **spoilers** for the collection to this point…

Uhtred of Bebbanburg in real life


We hate to be the bearer of dangerous information, however Uhtred of Bebbanburg isn’t instantly primarily based on a real particular person. The fearless but noble warrior, born a Saxon however raised by Danes, is a piece of fiction. Nevertheless, he’s included on this listing as he does have a notable hyperlink to medieval history.

Writer Bernard Cornwell found that he was a descendant of Uhtred the Daring, an Earl of Northumbria who dominated at Bamburgh Citadel within the early 10th century. Nevertheless, the primary character in The Last Kingdom is comparable in title and territory solely, because the real Uhtred didn’t have the identical exceptional upbringing or adventures.

King Alfred in real life

David Dawson plays King Alfred in The Last Kingdom

Alfred the Nice was certainly King of Wessex from 871 to 899. As The Last Kingdom depicts, he was a popular ruler with a popularity amongst his folks for being level-headed and merciful. Beneath his reign, there have been developments made in direction of a fairer authorized system in addition to larger high quality of life for abnormal folks. A few of the army victories proven within the Netflix collection did certainly happen in real life, most notably the conversion of viking warrior Earl Guthrum to Christianity on the finish of season one.

The precise nature of King Alfred’s loss of life isn’t identified, however he did endure from in poor health well being for a lot of his life and his recorded signs have led some historians to theorise that he had Crohn’s illness. He handed away on the age of both 50 or 51 and was buried at Hyde Abbey in Winchester, the town the place he had lived for many of his life. Sadly, his bones and plenty of others have been misplaced within the late 1700s, when a jail was constructed on the land. To this present day, they haven’t been discovered.

Aelswith in real life


Aelswith married Alfred in 868 and stayed by his aspect till his loss of life 31 years later. As said in The Last Kingdom, she is initially of Mercia and it’s anticipated that her marriage to the Wessex king was a part of an alliance between the 2 lands. She was by no means granted the title of queen, so when Alfred died, she based a nunnery in Winchester that went on to be generally known as St Mary’s Abbey. A lot of it was demolished in 1539 as a part of the Tudor dissolution of the monasteries, with little hint left of it at this time.

Aethelwold in real life

The treacherous Aethelwold returns to Wessex, where one of his eyes is burned out with a red hot rod

Aethelwold is a personality folks like to hate in The Last Kingdom, identified for his scheming and treachery in opposition to King Alfred as he eyes the throne for himself. Remarkably, that is inspired by occasions in real history.

When Alfred died in 899, Aethelwold staged a revolt in an try to seize the crown, much like that which we see on the finish of The Last Kingdom season three. Because the son of King Aethelred I of Wessex, who dominated earlier than Alfred, Aethelwold had a reliable declare to the throne and a few felt that he was the rightful ruler.

Nonetheless, his preliminary rebellion in opposition to Alfred’s son, Edward, was a failure as he was unable to mobilise a big sufficient military, in the end fleeing to Dane-ruled Northumbria the place he discovered some assist. He continued his bid for Wessex with the vikings as his allies, however was in the end killed in 902 on the Battle of the Holme.

King Edward in real life

Timothy Innes plays King Edward in The Last Kingdom

Alfred’s son noticed off a problem from Aethelwold to safe his kingship over the Anglo-Saxons, reigning from 899 to 924. Not many sources survive from his time on the throne and he went largely unstudied by historians for a very long time. Nevertheless, current assessments have discovered him to be an essential determine in driving the vikings out of southern England. In season 4, he describes Dane-controlled Northumbria as “the final kingdom”, which was very a lot true within the later years of his reign. He died in 924 whereas combating a insurrection in Mercia and was buried in Hyde Abbey alongside his father. His stays have been additionally misplaced within the 1700s.

Lord Aethelred of Mercia in real life


Lord Aethelred was traditionally the chief of Mercia between 881 to 911, coming into into marriage with King Alfred’s daughter as a part of an alliance with Wessex. In The Last Kingdom, he’s depicted as abusive to Woman Aethelflaed, though this will not have been the case in real life. Equally, there’s some confusion over the circumstances of his loss of life. Sure historians believed that he suffered poor well being in his later years, which prompted Aethelflaed to tackle a extra proactive management position in Mercia. Nevertheless, others imagine he was grievously injured on the Battle of Tettenhall, as proven fairly hauntingly in season 4 of The Last Kingdom.

Woman Aethelflaed of Mercia in real life


Aethelflaed holds a novel place in Anglo-Saxon history as one of many solely ladies to wield important political energy. She grew to become Woman of the Mercians after her husband died, an authoritative place that King Edward acknowledged, maybe in change for possession of London and Oxford. Historians take into account her to have been a powerful and profitable army chief, who was instrumental in capturing Dane-controlled lands.

She is believed to have died of sickness on the age of 48 or 49 in Tamworth and was buried at St Oswald’s Priory in Gloucester. In 2018, a statue of Aethelflaed was erected exterior Tamworth Railway Station to commemorate the 1,100th anniversary of her loss of life.

The Last Kingdom season 4 is now streaming on Netflix – try our listing of the perfect TV exhibits on Netflix, or discover out what else is on with our TV Information


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