Jennie Jaques is Judith
Judith is the daughter of King Aella of Northumbria and the wife of Prince Aethelwulf of Wessex.
Judith accompanies her parents, King Aella and Queen Ealhswith, accepting an invitation to create an alliance with King Ecbert, who seeks help resisting the advances of invading Northmen.
The kings come to an agreement that each kingdom would send troops to defend the other should the Northmen attack. King Aella is wary; there’s nothing to stop Ecbert from taking over his own, smaller kingdom . King Ecbert then suggests that Aella’s daughter Judith and his son Aethelwulf marry, to form a stronger alliance. King Aella agrees.
Throughout this, Judith (and Aethelwulf) are merely pawns in their fathers’ plans; the two marry shortly thereafter. Neither spouse seem displeased with the marriage, however.
About a year has passed since the marriage and Judith had since given birth to a son. Though a dutiful wife, Judith is much more interested in Athelstan, the holy man who accompanies Ragnar on peace negotiations in Wessex, than her own husband, and develops a potentially dangerous crush. She intentionally seeks Athelstan out, asking to kiss his hand saying that she was told that he was crucified and the marks are still there. Flustered, Athelstan does not wish to show her nor have a woman kiss him, even if it’s just on the hand. Judith grabs his hand anyway and sees the scars; she kisses them before being interrupted by her husband, who is heading into battle with Ragnar and his men to reclaim Mercia.
Later, Judith finds Athelstan and asks to confess to him as her regular confessor is not there. Athelstan reluctantly agrees; Judith tells him that she has sinned in thought but not in deed. She confesses to dreaming of lying naked beside a man who is not her husband. Judith continues, saying that they also made love to each, and that she enjoyed it. Athelstan asks who the man is in her dream and Judith replies that it was him. She leaves before he can give her her penance.
The next morning, Athelstan is returning to Lagertha’s settlement. Judith is upset and Athelstan brings up that she did not receive her penance. She says him leaving is enough. He believes it is a good thing. The King notices Judith’s interest and slyly warns her that an interesting person can also be a dangerous one. Judith says the same can be said about his interest in Lagertha.
Several days later, Lagertha and Athelstan once again visit the King, who takes them to the Roman baths for a dip. Joining the them is also Judith. King Ecbert and Lagertha soon begin kissing, which causes the embarresed Judith to abruptly leave, saying “It’s not right”. Athelstan follows. Judith confesses to Athelstan that she feels dirty because of her growing interest in him even though she knows it is not right. He sends her to bed to rest.
Athelstan realizes that he has an interest in Judith and the two eventually consummate the relationship, breaking his vow of chastity. The King, it seems, has succeeded in quietly pushing the relationship to this point as Judith becomes pregnant.
Aethelwulf returns to find his wife is suffering from sickness related to the pregnancy but Judith does not try to hide her infidelity. Aethelwulf is furious to find that his wife pregnant by another man and Judith refuses to name the father.
Several months later, the child, a son, is born. Aethelwulf comes to congratulate Judith on her new child before she is violently dragged out of the room and tied up outside in front of a jeering crowd. Her husband and father-in-law watch as she has been found guilty of adultery and is sentenced to having her ears and nose cut off as punishment. She screams for mercy and the king offers her a possible release: name the father. Judith refuses and her punishment commences with the removal of an ear. Unable to bear the pain, Judith tells the King that the father is Athelstan. Aethelwulf does not believe her, but King Ecbert has a sudden change of heart, “Athelstan is a holy man. I can not blame my daughter in law for being attracted to such a man”. The King has what he wanted, a child by a man of God. Judith is released and the king commands the child to be baptized as “Alfred”.
Though she does not understand it, Judith has regained King Ecbert’s favor, who now dotes on her son despite his questionable parentage, almost as if the child was born of the Virgin herself. Though Aethelwulf tells his father that, despite his wife’s infidelity, his marriage is fine, he calls his wife a whore when she brings the little prince to see King Ecbert. The king promptly throws his son out of the room and consoles Judith before turning his attentions to Alfred.
King Ecbert (who has sent his son on a possible suicide mission to Mercia) visits Judith and shares with her the writings that Athelstan was translating for him. He vows to protect her and her son Alfred and kisses her on the lips, leaving Judith stunned and confused. Unbeknownst to her, the King plans on removing her father, King Aella, and taking Northumbria for himself.
King Ecbert later tells Judith that her husband has returned from Mercia and that his protection comes with a price, however. She must become his mistress. He promises that, if she agrees, then Judith will inherit his kingdom.
Jacques began her acting career in 2009 on “The Bill” for Talkback Thames TV. This was quickly followed by the series regular role of Annie Miller in BBC’s “Desperate Romantics” and the guest lead role of Emily Mullins in “Larkrise to Candleford”. Jacques quickly built on this impressive start with leading roles in movies Cherry Tree Lane (Steel Mill Films), Shank, (Revolver Films), Demons Never Die (Exile Media), Truth or Dare (Corona Pictures) and her award nominated role of Sophie in Ground Break Films’ The Other Side.
Prior to her work as Judith, Jennie played the leading role of WPC Gina Dawson in series 1 & 2 of BBC Television’s “WPC 56”, as well as regular character Tash in “The Delivery Man” for ITV.