Prince Aethelred of Wessex (meaning Noble Counsel in Old English) was the son of Judith and Aethelwulf heir to the throne of Wessex and half-brother of Judith's bastard son (with Athelstan) King Alfred. He was killed by Judith in the Season 5 after having conspired against Alfred to become the new King.
Aethelred, son of King Aethelwulf of Wessex and Mercia and Queen Judith, daughter of the late King Aelle of Northumbria, is a member of the Wessex royal house (or House of Cerdic).
Aetheleed, Athelwilf, Alfred and Judith are in exile in the marshes, Alfred is sick. Prince Alfred has a vision in which Athelstan tells him the Vikings are in York, so Aethelred, Alfred and Aethelwulf joins forces with Bishop Heahmund. The Saxons led by King Aethelwulf and Bishop Heahmund attack York, but are led into a trap. Aethelred is wounded in the battle and the Saxons are forced to retreat by the vikings. Ubbe and Hvitserk arrive at their camp to propose a peace, Aethelwulf seemingly accepts their offer, but Heahmund arranges to have the brothers humiliated. The Saxons are joined by Judith's cousin Mannel and his men from Northumbria. Heahmund persuades Aethelwulf to lay siege, and attack only when the Vikings are starving. They massacred there hunting parties and blocked the city. They see the smoke from the fires and enter the apparently deserted city. The Saxon celebrations are cut short when Vikings appear from the sewers and engage in battle. Heahmund is surrounded, but spared by Ivar, and captured. The Vikings retake and garrison the city, as the Saxons retreat. The Saxons have retreated to Winchester, Aethelred is traid by his father who tells him he will become a great ruler. Alfred collapses during mass, when he recovers he decides to make a pilgrimage to Lindisfarne.
After the death of his father, Judith tells Aethelred he must renounce to the crown, as Alfred was the better choice and it was his grandfather's King Ecbert's wish, although initially angry he renounces to the crown and Alfred becomes King.
Although Aethelred loves his step brother he still resents him and plots against him, but ultimately refuses to kill him. Judith however finds out and tells Alfred, he is forgiven by Alfred as he had saved his life during war, but not by Judith.
After Alfred becomes sick again Judith distrusts Aethelred even more, Aethelred wishes his brother to recover soon but is poisoned by an unstable Judith, Aethelred collapses and Judith weeps with his dead body in her arms.
- As an Anglo-Saxon prince, his full title would be Aethelred atheling. Atheling was a standard title for any son of a sovereign, and denoted lower royal status.
- Aethelred was a real life son of King Aethelwulf of Wessex, and grandson of King Ecbert of Wessex. He was King of Wessex during the Danish invasions of the mid 9th century (not King Ecbert, as in the show), and died shortly after the Battle of Merton in 871, which was a defeat to the Norsemen. He was succeeded by his younger brother, King Alfred the Great.
- Aethelred in Old English means "noble counsel". This is akin to the later King Aethelred the Unready, who in his reign was King of the English (an early title for King of England) as opposed to King of Wessex. Aethelred of Wessex is often referred to as Aethelred I, whilst his distant descendant is referred as Athelred II.
|Season three appearances|
|Mercenary||The Wanderer||Warrior's Fate||Scarred||The Usurper|
|Born Again||Paris||To the Gates!||Breaking Point||The Dead|
|Season four appearances|
|A Good Treason||Kill the Queen||Mercy||Yol||Promised|
|What Might Have Been||The Profit and the Loss||Portage||Death All 'Round||The Last Ship|
|The Outsider||The Vision||Two Journeys||In the Uncertain Hour Before the Morning||All His Angels|
|Crossings||The Great Army||Revenge||On the Eve||The Reckoning|
|Season five appearances|
|The Departed Part 1||The Departed Part 2||Homeland||The Plan||The Prisoner|
|The Message||Full Moon||The Joke||A Simple Story||Moments of Vision|
|The Revelation||Murder Most Foul||A New God||The Lost Moment||Hell|
|The Buddha||The Most Terrible Thing||Baldur||What Happens in the Cave||Ragnarok|