Robert Pattinson played the Dauphin of France on Netflix’s The King, focused on the Battle of Agincourt. Was the Dauphin really part of the battle?
Caution: There are spoilers in this post for The King on Netflix.
The King has been one of the most anticipated Netflix movies of 2019. Starring TTimothée Chalamet, Robert Pattinson, Joel Edgerton, and many more familiar faces, it promised to be a beautiful, slightly more modern adaptation of the Shakespeare plays (mostly Henry V). However, there were certainly some elements of history adapted for the sake of fictionalized storytelling.
Part of the story was Pattinson’s Dauphin of France. He would be present at the Battle of Agincourt, in the background to send his troops in. However, he wouldn’t fight. It would only be at the end when he realized he was losing, that he would take Henry V up on the offer of a one-on-one battle to decide everything.
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In the end, the Dauphin would continually slip in the mud. And by this point, Hal wasn’t exactly in a forgiving mood. So, it wasn’t that surprising to see Hal’s men stab and kill the Dauphin.
That makes a great story, but was it all based on history? Did you know the Dauphin of France wasn’t even at the Battle of Agincourt? The Smithsonian shares that Louis, Duke of Guyenne, sat the battle out. He wasn’t at Agincourt. There’s no record of him being there in history, and the army was led by Constable Charles d’Albret. Louis remained with his ailing father.
So, there’s no way that the Dauphin would have been killed in the manner he was in The King. In fact, Louis would die a couple of months later likely from dysentery (the illness that would also reportedly kill King Henry V in 1422 after another battle in France).
But that wouldn’t have made a good tale, would it? It wouldn’t bring the story to a close, mimicking the opening of Hal offering to fight one-on-one to decide a battle.
It wasn’t the only historical inaccuracy throughout the movie. If you’ve watched enough historical fictional, you’ll know that inaccuracies are common for the sake of storytelling. I mean, you just have to look at Mary, Queen of Scots where Mary and Elizabeth met in secret just to put Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan on the screen together!
Does this particular inaccuracy take away from the movie? Well, it’s not like too much of history would be changed with it. Louis did very little in his short life, so it made sense to kill him off at the end of the Battle of Agincourt, even if it wasn’t accurate.
What did you think of The King on Netflix? Do historical inaccuracies bother you in historical fiction? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
The King is now available to stream on Netflix.