REAL story behind 'The Last Duel': How knights fought to the death in 1386

REAL story behind 'The Last Duel': How knights fought to the death in 1386
REAL story behind 'The Last Duel': How knights fought to the death in 1386

They had once been good friends, but on a cold winter's day in December 1386, French knights Jacques Le Gris and Jean de Carrouges fought bitterly in front of their king.

The two men were engaging in what was the last judicial duel sanctioned by the French monarch, who at that time was King Charles VI.

The reason for their fight? Carrouges had accused Le Gris of raping his wife, Marguerite, while she was alone at his mother's chateau.

When an ordinary court failed to determine Le Gris's guilt, Carrouges demanded a trial by combat and the king agreed to let it take place.

Horrendously, if Carrouges were to lose the fight, Marguerite – who was forced to watch while flanked by guards – would be burnt alive at the stake for lying about her ordeal.

Ultimately though, it was Carrouges who triumphed, by gruesomely thrusting his sword through Le Gris's throat after the accused man insisted for the final time that he was innocent.

The captivating saga is the subject of new film The Last Duel, which is released in the UK tomorrow and is based on historian Eric Jager's 2004 book of the same name.

Directed by Ridley Scott, it stars Matt Damon as Carrouges and Adam Driver as his nemesis Le Gris, whilst Killing Eve star Jodie Comer plays Marguerite and Ben Affleck portrays other leading character Pierre D'Alencon, a count and knight.

They had once been good friends, but on a cold winter's day in December 1386, French knights Jacques Le Gris and Jean de Carrouges fought bitterly in front of their king. The conflict is the subject of new film The Last Duel, which stars Matt Damon as Carrouges and Adam Driver as Le Gris. They are pictured in character above (Damon right)

They had once been good friends, but on a cold winter's day in December 1386, French knights Jacques Le Gris and Jean de Carrouges fought bitterly in front of their king. The conflict is the subject of new film The Last Duel, which stars Matt Damon as Carrouges and Adam Driver as Le Gris. They are pictured in character above (Damon right) 

The two men were engaging in what was the last judicial duel sanctioned by the French monarch, who at that time was King Charles VI. The reason for their fight? Carrouges had accused Le Gris of raping his wife, Marguerite, while she was alone at his mother's chateau. When he went to the king for justice, the monarch ordered the duel to resolve the dispute after an ordinary court trial failed to reach a conclusion. Above: An illustration of the aftermath of the battle shows Carrouges holding Le Gris's head before the king

The two men were engaging in what was the last judicial duel sanctioned by the French monarch, who at that time was King Charles VI. The reason for their fight? Carrouges had accused Le Gris of raping his wife, Marguerite, while she was alone at his mother's chateau. When he went to the king for justice, the monarch ordered the duel to resolve the dispute after an ordinary court trial failed to reach a conclusion. Above: An illustration of the aftermath of the battle shows Carrouges holding Le Gris's head before the king 

Despite the fact that they had been friendly with each other before the rape accusation, de Carrouges and Le Gris also had a history of bitter rows.

They stemmed from the fact that Le Gris was a favourite of the influential D'Alencon, who ruled over the town of Argentan.

Carrouges was forced to look on jealously as his rival was rewarded by the count with a lordship and a newly purchased estate.

When Carrouges married Marguerite in 1381, he then embarked on a campaign to gain control of the estate of Aunou-le-Faucon, which had been given to Le Gris.

Carrouges's claim rested on the fact that it had once been owned by Marguerite's father, before he sold it in 1377.

However, the knight's lawsuit made him unpopular and made him further estranged from D'Alencon's circle.

Yet by the time Carrouges had a reunion with Le Gris at a christening three years after his marriage, the pair seemed to be on better terms and he instructed his wife to kiss him as a sign of friendship.

Horrendously, if Carrouges were to lose the fight, Marguerite – who was forced to watch while flanked by guards – would be burnt alive at the stake for lying about her ordeal. Above: Marguerite is played by Jodie Comer in the new film

Horrendously, if Carrouges were to lose the fight, Marguerite – who was forced to watch while

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