Who is Marguerite de Carrouges? Meet the real woman who inspired The Last Duel

Olivia Olphin July 21, 2021

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Do you love a film centred around medieval knightly traditions? Are you obsessed with true historical stories? Then The Last Duel is the film for you. Ridley Scott’s new epic is set in 14th century medieval France and centres around the last judicially sanctioned trial-by-combat between two knights. However, the real emotional pull of the movie is Marguerite de Carrouges, played by Jodie Comer. Meet the real woman that inspired the film.

What is The Last Duel about?

The film is based on the historical book by Eric Jager, The Last Duel: A True Story Of Trial By Combat In Medieval France.

However, not everything from this book could make it into the film, as Jager has said:

“Books always have nuances and details that do not survive screen adaptation, and I knew this would be true for my book from the first show of film interest years ago.”

In the film we see the final judicially sanctioned trial-by-combat in French medieval history between Jean Carrouges and Jaques Le Gris. This was due to allegations made by Carrouges wife Marguerite against Le Gris, stating that he had attacked and raped her.

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The trailer for the film just dropped late last night and fans are extremely excited about this authentic historical tale.

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‘The Last Duel’ (2021) | Official Trailer

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‘The Last Duel’ (2021) | Official Trailer
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Meet Marguerite de Carrouges from The Last Duel

Marguerite de Carrouges was a real woman who lived in 14th century France. She was formerly known by her maiden name as Marguerite de Thibouville.

She was a noblewoman originally from an incredibly wealthy Norman family; her father was Robert de Thibouville. However, Robert had previously defied, or betrayed the King, and this left her reputation somewhat smeared.

Marguerite married Jean de Carrouges, who was reportedly quite a brutish and violent man.

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The plot of The Last Duel revolves around a duel between her husband Jean de Carrouges and her alleged rapist Jacques Le Gris, after she accuses him of sexual assault.

This is based on the same event from medieval France in 1386. Le Gris allegedly raped Marguerite with the help of his friend Adam Louvel. However, as he was a darling of the court, they declared that Marguerite “must have dreamed it”.

Her husband, Jean, challenged Le Gris to a trial by combat. However, first this meant that an investigation into the incident was to be held by the Parlement. Similar to victims of sexual assault today, Marguerite had to travel to the capital and testify in front of witnesses and lawyers about her experiences.

Marguerite’s testimonial is incredibly harrowing, as she stated: “They pinned me down and stuffed a capucium [a hood] over my mouth to silence me. I thought I was going to suffocate, and soon I couldn’t fight them anymore.”

However, a verdict was not reached so her husband was granted the traditional right of a duel, or a trial-by-combat. Marguerite dressed all in black for the duel between her husband and her attacker.

While we won’t spoil the ending of the duel, you can read more about it in Eric Jager’s essay The Woman In Black.

Who portrays Marguerite de Carrouges in the film?

Marguerite de Carrouges is played by Killing Eve actor Jodie Comer. The star is going from strength to strength with another Hollywood film Free Guy, starring Ryan Reynolds, releasing this August.

Photo by LISA O’CONNOR/AFP via Getty Images

She has previously played the iconic Villanelle in Killing Eve, Rey’s mother in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, and Kate Parks in BBC’s Doctor Foster.

We can’t wait to see what Jodie Comer brings to the role of Marguerite when the film releases this October.

Olivia Olphin is an English Literature graduate and a film and literature fanatic. She has many years of reviewing experience, recently working as accredited press for the London Film Festival. She has also written widely about culture and sex education, as well as LGBTQ+ and women's issues.