Last Kingdom: Who was Aelflaed? Is Aelflaed based on a real person?

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Last Kingdom is a popular historical drama series which is based on Anglo-Saxon history, and it was inspired by The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell. Cornwell is known for his passion for British history, and many of the characters in his books and the series are based on real people. Fans are keen to know more about Aelflaed (played by Amelia Clarkson) and has everything you need to know.

Is Aelflaed based on a real person?

Fans may be interested to hear the character of Aelflaed is in fact based on a real historical figure called Aelfflaed.

Like in the series, she was the second wife of Edward the Elder (Timothy Innes), after he had a child with his first ‘secret’ wife Ecgwynn (Julia Brown).

Edward’s mother Aelswith (Eliza Butterworth) arranged for her son to marry Aelflaed as she was the daughter of an ealdorman, Aethelhelm (Adrian Schiller).

She married King Edward in the year 899, but she was never proven to be a real queen.

The real Aelfflaed had two sons – Aelfweard and Edwin, as well as at least five daughters.


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In the series, her son Aelfweard is played by Marcell Zsolt Halmy, and he was held hostage alongside his mother by the Viking warlord, Sigtryggr (Eysteinn Sigurðarson).

According to the 12th century Textus Roffensis, a medieval manuscript, Aelfweard became king after his father’s death in the year 924.

However, his reign did not last long as he died within a month himself, and his brother Edwin drowned in the year 933.

Aelflaed does not have any daughters in the series, but historians say she had five or six daughters, including Eadgifu and Eadhild, all of whom went on to marry royalty.

According to William of Malmesbury, Edward left Aelfflaed in order to marry Eadgifu, but this theory is viewed with some scepticism.

After being cast aside by her husband, she and two of her daughters retired to Wilton Abbey in Wiltshire, and all three are buried there.

In the TV series, she quickly became one of the most hated characters, as she disowned Edward’s other son, Aethelstan (Caspar Griffiths).

She and her father took a disliking to Edward’s mother Aelswith, and Aelflaed attempted to have her locked away in one part of the kingdom.

However, Aelswith managed to escape confinement, although she joined Aelflaed as one of Sigtryggr’s hostages later in the series.

She was last seen with her father, who had poisoned Aelswith’s water in an attempt to kill her.

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Fans were left wondering if Lady Aelswith died after she drank the water, and she was last seen looking very sick.

They have also been wondering what becomes of Aelflaed, as she was partly responsible for Aelswith’s fate.

She remains alive throughout The Saxon Stories, so there does not seem to be any surprise death planned for her.

However the series has not always remained true to the novels, so there is a chance she could be killed as part of a revenge attack.

Edward has never been able to form a loving relationship with Aelflaed, so he could easily cast her aside as history suggests.


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If a fifth season is given the green light, it may see Edward exiling Aelflaed and her father Aethelhelm, when he discovers what they did to his mother.

Edward’s heart has always remained true to his first wife Ecgwynn, who was forced to live at a nunnery as it was thought their marriage was illegitimate.

Aelflaed blamed her husband for her capture by Sigtryggr as he was not in Winchester to help them, so there is likely to be some tension between the husband and wife in a new season.

She narrowly escaped death at the hands of Sigtryggr and Brida (Emily Cox) as Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon) traded himself to save their lives.

Aelflaed features in two of Cornwell’s novels, with her last appearance being in The Empty Throne.

The Last Kingdom is available to watch on Netflix now

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