‘The Last Kingdom’: Eliza Butterworth Talks About Aelswith’s Powerful Enemy in Season 4

In The Last Kingdom, Lady Aelswith (Eliza Butterworth) goes through a lot of changes after the death of her beloved husband, King Alfred of Wessex (David Dawson). In season 4, she is dealing with a situation of her own making and she realizes her position has changed. She hasn’t always been the nicest person, and she’s dealing with the consequences of that.

Lady Aelswith plans the union between her son and his wife, which doesn’t play out well for her

Eliza Butterworth
Eliza Butterworth | Dave Benett/Getty Images for dunhill

Aelswith initiates the union between her son, King Edward (Timothy Innes) and Aelflaed (Amelia Clarkson). Aelflaed’s father, Aethelhelm (Adrian Schiller) turns out to be a power-hungry noble that wants nothing but more power and influence over the king. Aelswith eventually realizes that her choice of spouse for her son is going to lead to more difficulties through Aethelhelm.

Aethelhelm makes moves against Aelswith throughout the new season, including poisoning her water jug when they are all being held by the Danes in Winchester as prisoners. It’s still unclear if Aelswith will make it after the poisoning. She was incredibly ill and fell over in the last scene she appears in.

Eliza Butterworth talks about Aelswith’s powerful enemy in season 4

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Eliza Butterworth, who plays Aelswith, spoke with Variety about her role in season 4. She talks about the “challenges” she finds along the way, which include dealing with her enemy Aethelhelm. At first, Aelswith couldn’t be happier with the match, that is until Aethelhelm starts grasping for power and influencing Edward in the worst ways. Aelswith soon realizes her mistake in choosing Aelflaed as a bride.

“One of the main challenges she faces in this new chapter of her life is the ever-growing hunger for power of Lord Aethelhelm,” Butterworth said. “He is the father of Aelflaed, King Edward’s wife, and initially before the marriage Aelswith was really eager to have him and his daughter be part of the family as Aethelhelm has a lot of power and status in the kingdom. However, she realizes that Aethelhelm’s intentions are incredibly dangerous.”

‘Aethelhelm has poisoned the others against her’

Aelswith doesn’t wield the same influence that she used to, and she deals with slights constantly, including being moved to smaller rooms and ignored in almost every way. She tries to gain her son’s support and favor, which she seems to have lost by the efforts of Aethelhelm. But that doesn’t stop her from doing everything she can to keep her husband’s dream alive of a united England through her children.

“She’s no longer in control and him exerting power over the Wessex crown puts her family in harm’s way,” Butterworth continued. “Now more than ever, she’s realizing that she needs the support of Edward. She needs her family to come together in order to defeat Aethelhem’s bad intentions, and she’s fighting to gain back control of her kingdom and Alfred’s kingdom. But unfortunately, she realizes that maybe Aethelhelm has poisoned the others against her before she can get anyone on her side.”

Lady Aelswith is a fighter and she tries to get back into the good graces of her son, which she eventually does, but not without the difficulties that Aethelhelm brings with him. Hopefully we’ll get a season 5 and fans can learn the fate of Aelswith and her fight against Aethelhelm.