The real story behind ‘The King’s Man’

Unlike the first two installments of Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman trilogy, The king’s man is at the center of the story of real life. Or more exactly, the theater of war.

The long-awaited prequel explores the origins of “the first independent intelligence agency” in the context of the First World War. The line between reality and fiction blurs … and then there is The king’s man. It’s to the point that we predict many will scream “revisionist history” – but what is Hollywood entertainment without a spoonful of artistic freedom?

Here’s a quick breakdown of the facts and fiction behind The king’s man.


The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand


At the request of General Lord Herbert Kitchener (Charles Dance), Duke Orlando Oxford (Ralph Fiennes) and his son Conrad (Harris Dickinson) accompany the heir apparent to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand (Ron Cook), and his wife The Duchess Sophie of Hohenberg (Barbara Drennan) during their pivotal visit to Sarajevo.

Conrad thwarts the first attack against the Archduke and the Duchess in Bosnia, attempted by a certain Gavrilo Princip (Joel Basman). Later, as fate dictates, Princip finds himself sitting in a cafe where the Archduke and Duchess’s car goes wrong. As they back up from the dead end, he pulls out his pistol and neutralizes them both, effectively igniting the fuse to start WWI.


The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand is an event that almost deserves its own film. Similar to what has been described in The king’s man, there were several attacks on his life before the mission was successful – but at the hands of several assassins, not just Gavrilo Princip. The first two were Muhamed Mehmedbašić and Vaso Čubrilović, who failed to do the job armed with a bomb and pistol. Further down the road, Nedeljko Čabrinović threw his own bomb at the convertible, which bounced back without the intervention of an umbrella.

The remaining co-conspirators – Cvjetko Popović, Trifun Grabež, and of course, Gavrilo Princip – all missed their initial chances as the motorcade sped up to flee the danger. On the return of the Archduke and Duchess from the town hall meeting, however, Gavrilo Princip would achieve his goal almost exactly the same as the film; without haphazard coffee and revised affiliation with another obscure organization. The car made a wrong turn, the engine stalled when reversing and Princip took the opportunity at close range.

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Grigory Rasputin


Grigori Rasputin (Rhys Ifans) is not only a key player in The king’s man, he is also the unusual character. The reason? The legendary mystic, self-proclaimed holy man and “mad monk” Rasputin had convinced the last Russian emperor Nicholas II to withdraw from the Allied powers, effectively threatening to give the upper hand to the central powers.

The British contingent’s initial plan was to lure Rasputin into their private rooms using young Conrad as a honeypot, in which the former would satisfy his craving for sugary treats by participating in a cyanide pie. But as you may remember, much like his real-life inspiration, Rasputin d’Ifans is a tough man to kill.


While the majority of Grigory Rasputin’s life seems ludicrous enough to be a product of fiction, much of the mythology included in The king’s man is actually soaked. On the one hand, the man was a real lothario, known across the country for fucking pretty much everyone… although apparently not guys, diverging from portraying Rhys Ifan in that aspect. He once complained about the monks “indulge in homosexuality”During his stay at the monastery of St. Nicholas in Verkhoturye around 1897.

On the other hand, his influence over Nicholas II and Imperial Russia was quite obvious. And that wasn’t a good thing, which is why people came looking for his head. As mentioned in the movie, it is rumored that Rasputin injected himself with cyanide every day, which essentially made him unresponsive to the attempted assassination of Prince Felix Yusupov involving cakes and Madeira wine supplemented with “enough potassium cyanide to kill a monastery full of monks. ”

When the cyanide failed, they shot him in the head. Prince Yusupov checked to see if he was really down for the count, only to be encountered by a resurrected Rasputin who returned directly to attack mode. It wasn’t until he was bugged by right-wing politician Vladimir Purishkevich that he left at night.

Incidentally, there has long been a theory that agents from the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) – otherwise known as MI6 – were the real culprits in Rasputin’s death. This was reportedly under the command of senior politician Sir Samuel Hoare and MI6 intelligence officer Oswald Rayner, who attended Oxford University with Prince Yusupov. And precisely for the same reason that motivated Duke Orlando Oxford, Conrad, Polly and Shola to undertake their mission in The king’s man.

In terms of historical validity, several authorities do not consider this assertion credible. According to the biographer Douglas smith, “There is no convincing evidence which places British agents at the scene of the murder.” Moreover, the historian Keith jeffery states that if British intelligence operatives had indeed played a role, “I would have expected to find a trace of it” in the SIS archives. Which apparently does not exist, even 100 years later.

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The entry of the United States into the First World War


Despite Germany’s submarine attacks on American passenger ships as well as the famous Zimmermann Telegram, President Woodrow Wilson refuses to join the Allied Powers. Unbeknownst to the public, he is in fact the victim of blackmail to the point of complacency. Once the materiel is destroyed once and for all, the United States immediately rallies troops to end the ongoing conflict.


Granted, the United States didn’t really budge until April 1917, when President Woodrow Wilson came to Congress to demand a declaration of war against Germany. But that had nothing to do with blackmail or Bill Clinton-style actions in the Oval Office. Germany’s breach of its pledge to suspend unrestricted submarine warfare by attacking passenger ships – in addition to wooing Mexico for an alliance against the United States – was sufficient cause. In December of the same year, the United States would also declare war on German ally Austria-Hungary.

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The shepherd and his flock


The misfortune witnessed The king’s man is orchestrated by a mysterious Scottish figure known as The Shepherd and his ‘herd’. It is a terrorist organization made up of Grigori Rasputin, Mata Hari, Gavrilo Princip, Austrian political animal / publicist Erik Jan Hanussen (Daniel Bruhl), Vladimir Lenin himself (August Diehl) and many others. .


None of this was true. Obviously.

… And the King’s Men themselves?

Unfortunately, a complete fiction

As far as we know, The Kings’s Men was not founded during World War I (and does not exist at all). MI6 and MI5, on the other hand, were established around this time in 1909 and were initially branches of the British armed forces. Both the Secret Intelligence Service and the Security Service focused heavily on the activities of the German Imperial Government before WWI.

Throughout WWI, however, their effectiveness was mixed. Since it was unable to organize a functioning network in Germany, MI6 relied on military and commercial intelligence via networks in neutral countries, the occupied territories and Russia. The MI5 war effort has yielded better results. In the 24 hours following the declaration of war alone, the agency managed to arrest as many as 22 spies in the UK. History sees this as a “devastating blow to Imperial Germany” because it deprived it of all its domestic spy ring.

The King’s Man will be released in Australian theaters on January 6, 2022.

This article is proudly presented in partnership with the Twentieth Century Studios. Thank you for supporting the brands who support Boss Hunting.