Is The Last Kingdom based on a true story?

There are many historical figures you'll recognize in The Last Kingdom. Is this series based on truth? Was there really an Uhtred, son of Uhtred?

The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die. Alexander Dreymon as Uhtred in The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023
The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die. Alexander Dreymon as Uhtred in The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023 /
facebooktwitterreddit

When it comes to a show set in the past, we wonder if there is any truth to the historical element. The Last Kingdom certainly seems to have a lot of names you’ll recognize from historical texts. We take a look at how true it is to history.

The Last Kingdom is actually based on The Saxon Stories, which starts with the book titled The Last Kingdom. An older Uhtred tells us his story as a Saxon man raised by Danes. He lost his ancestral home as a child due to his uncle, and he spent his adult life fighting to get that home back.

Uhtred’s story is one of fiction. However, there are elements of the tale that have some historical connection to them. The places are based on real places in England at the time. I love how the show gives us the original names in Old English.

Some characters in The Last Kingdom are based on real historical figures

This is a little like Outlander and Jamestown. The series is set in the past, but the main characters are not real people. That doesn’t stop them from meeting real historical figures. Uhtred comes across a fair few throughout his story.

Uhtred is loosely based on Uhtred the Bold, although the real Uhtred was from 100 years after our Uhtred. There are just some loose connections showing that Bernard Cornwell took some inspiration from real history.

One of the most prominent is King Alfred. The show does a great job of explaining why Uhtred isn’t in our historical texts. Alfred had control of what was put into them. He was the one documenting the past, and it reminds us that history is always written by the victor.

Aelswith, Odda the Elder, Aethelwold, and even Edward are all based on real people as well. It’s worth noting that Aethelstan was also based on a real person in history. He is considered the first King of England by the majority of historians. While Alfred wanted to unite England, it would be his grandson who would find a way to do it.

Aethelred and Aethelflaed (yes, all the names were just as confusing as they were in the series) did rule Mercia together. Their marriage doesn’t seem to be as toxic and abusive as it was on the series, but you just never know what actually happened behind closed doors. Aethelflaed did rule as Lady of Mercia after the death of her husband, which was unusual for the time.

One thing The Last Kingdom did a great job of (and a lot of that is thanks to the source material) is combining real history with fiction. This show tells us how it’s done.

Next. Why was The Last Kingdom canceled after five seasons?. Why was The Last Kingdom canceled after five seasons?. dark

The Last Kingdom is available to stream on Netflix.