Who Is Eadgifu in ‘Seven Kings Must Die’? Was She a Real Person?

Uhtred Eadgifu Seven Kings Must Die Collage 1
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Eadgifu’s (Sonya Cassidy) wedding to King Edward (Timothy Innes) in The Last Kingdom raised mixed reactions among fans, with many terming her an opportunist ready to take advantage of the king just like Aelflaed (Amelia Clarkson) before her. Seven Kings Must Die introduced a whole new version of the queen; her face isn’t the only thing that changed from the show. Older and wiser, Eadgifu proved to be the most likable female character in the movie, leaving many fans asking who plays the new Eadgifu in Seven Kings Must Die and why the role was recast.

Edward marries a seemingly young and opportunistic Eadgifu in The Last Kingdom, making her his third wife, who agrees with historical accounts. Sonya Cassidy left the cast after the fifth season of The Last Kingdom, which meant the role had to be recast for the movie. In real life, Edward’s wife, Eadgifu of Kent, was the queen of Wessex who played a big role in English politics for long after his death, with two of her sons and grandsons ascending the throne on her watch.

The contrast between the show’s version of Eadgifu and the one in the movie is huge because the movie’s character is older and wiser and even manages to catch the eye of Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon). Many fans still wonder whether Eadgifu had a relationship with Uhtred in other story versions. It is still important to appreciate the calm but lively person that Eadgifu grows into in Seven Kings Must Die. So, who is the new Eadgifu in Seven Kings Must Die, and does she marry Uhtred?

Who plays Eadgifu in Seven Kings Must Die?

Elaine Cassidy in A Discovery of Witches VS Seven Kings Must Die 1

Eadgifu is portrayed by the Irish Actress Elaine Cassidy, famous for playing Ellie Seacord in the 2014 movie The Loft, and Nina Kowalska in the British TV series No Offense.

Despite having similar second names, there is no familial connection between Elaine and Sonya Cassidy, and playing the same role in The Last Kingdom saga was just a coincidence.

Elaine is a familiar name for most British franchise fans because she portrayed Louisa De Clermont in A Discovery of Witches and Rosaleen O’Donnell in The Wonder, all in 2022, just before playing Eadgifu.

Eadgifu’s daughter in the movie is actually played by Elaine’s real-life daughter Kíla Lord Cassidy whom she also costarred with in The Wonder.

Playing the sidelined widow and mother in the movie is a role that seemed natural to Elaine because of her decades of experience playing similar roles.

Elaine also captured the will-they-will-they-not relationship with Uhtred perfectly, displaying the unspoken romance between the two to keep fans guessing while still being enjoyable to watch.

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Eadgifu was also portrayed as a protective mother willing to break barriers and work with anyone willing to help her and protect her son.

Her motherly instinct leads her to seek refuge in Bebbanburg despite her husband having fallen out with him at the end of the fifth season of The Last Kingdom.

Although Eadgifu doesn’t express strong emotion, she is displayed as a wise soft-spoken woman with a strong motherly instinct. She is also portrayed as a capable leader, aware of the political environment.

Elaine, who was 46 years old when the production of the movie began, captured all the features of Eadgifu perfectly, making her a warm and lively character, able to fit in with everyone in Bebbanburg despite being the queen.

Why was Eadgifu recast in Seven Kings Must Die?

Elaine VS Sonya Cassidy recast as Eadgifu 1

Sonya Cassidy, who played the role in the fifth season of The Last Kingdom, told The Digital Fix that the movie’s production period was in conflict with her schedule forcing her to leave.

She joined the cast of The Man Who Fell To Earth, playing the main role of Edie Flood immediately after her exit from The Last Kingdom.

Her role as Diane Barnwell in The Hunt For Raoul Moat also came immediately after The Man Who Fell To Earth, and that might be the cause of her unavailability to play Eadgifu in the movie.

She said that she enjoyed the role and loved the rest of the cast when the show was being filmed in Budapest but had no choice but to leave the show.

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Eadgifu was also supposed to have grown older over the years as Edward’s wife, during which she gave birth to at least four children.

Elaine Cassidy, who is about ten years older than Sonya, was, therefore, a good replacement for the role because her age profile is better adapted to the real-life character.

Elaine represented a drastically changed Eadgifu in the movie compared to Sonya Cassidy’s character, but both stars portrayed the different versions of Eadgifu perfectly in the franchise.

What happened to Queen Eadgifu in real life?

The Nwe Eadgifu in Seven Kings Must Die

Eadgifu of Kent (Often confused with her daughter Eadgifu of Wessex) was the daughter of Sigehelm, an Ealdorman of Kent believed to have died in 902.

She married King Edward in 919 AD, likely when Edward was way older than her, because she long outlived him, dying in 968 during the reign of her grandson, over 40 years after Edward died in 924.

Eadgifu is believed to have come to Edward seeking help to reclaim her father’s lands in Kent, leading to the relationship and marriage that gave Edward solid control of Kent as well.

Unlike the movie, which only focuses on Eadmund, historical accounts suggest that Eadgifu had three or four children, including the two English kings Eadmund and his brother Eadred.

She became a powerful political player in the politics of 10th century Britain after her husband’s death, partnering with her stepson Aethelstan as he became king and later supporting her two sons to ascend the throne as well.

Details about her personality and love life after Edward’s death are scarce, so her relationship with Uhtred in Seven Kings Must Die may have been modified for entertainment purposes.

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Does Uhtred end up with Eadgifu?

The Last Kindom Seven Kings Must Die 5

Despite strongly liking each other after meeting in Bebbanburg, Uhtred and Eadgifu don’t end up getting married in Seven Kings Must Die.

The movie actually ends with Uhtred fighting for his life, with a cliffhanger showing him struggling between staying with friends and family who love and care for him and going to Valhalla to meet Brida and Ragnar.

If Uhtred married Eadgifu, it would give her the security she needed from other lords and kings who hated Edward because they saw her and her son Eadmund as a threat.

Eadgifu was in love with Uhtred, and one of the women in Bebbanburg notices it and encourages her to marry him in the movie, but she chooses not to.

In the books, Uhtred’s last wife is the healer Eadith who died during a plague. Eadith doesn’t marry Uhtred in the show and doesn’t die either, as the show said she went to Frankia to continue her healing art.

Athelstan actually encourages Uhtred to marry before the battle of Brunanburgh in Bernard Cornwell’s War Lord, but he doesn’t marry Eadgifu in the book either.

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