The Myths and History of Red Hair


Red Hair and Royalty

royal daughters

The following article is pretty much just a list of red-haired royals. I'll throw a few Earls and Holy Roman Emperors in as well just for good measure though.

I've already mentioned some of the British royals on my Red Hair Britannia page, so I'll quickly list them here then move on.

Henry II
Richard the Lionheart
Elizabeth Woodville
Elizabeth of York
Elizabeth I
Alexander II, King of Scotland
Mary Queen of Scots

(The picture on the right depicts some of the red-haired daughters of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville.)

The father of Henry II, Geoffrey Plantagenet, was a redhead. He was described as "handsome, red-headed, jovial, and a great warrior."

Mary Tudor, Queen of France was likewise red-haired.

As was Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester. He was one of the leaders of the Albigensian Crusade and was renowned for his cruelty. I came across the following passage on a web-page about the Cathars;

It is in Toulouse that the commander Simon de Montfort - known as "The butcher of Occitanie", or "The Crusade Lion" (depending on the side!)- finds his end his skull crushed in 1218 by a catapulted stone thrown by the women of the city (he was recognized by his distinct red hair!!).

Another Earl with red hair was Gilbert de Clare, 7th Earl of Gloucester. He was known as the Red Earl because of it.

The Holy Roman Emperors Otto II and Otto III were also red-haired. In fact, Otto II was known as Otto the Red. Other red-haired Holy Roman Emperors include Frederick I Barbarossa and Frederick II. The following is a description of Frederick II given by the chronicler Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi;

"The Emperor was covered with red hair, was bald and myopic. Had he been a slave, he would not have fetched 200 dirhams at market."

Baldwin IV, King of Jerusalem was also ginger. He was known as the leper and was described as "a blue-eyed, freckled, leprous evil-doer."

Other noted red-haired royals include Isabella I of Castile, Joanna of Castile (aka Joanna the Mad) and Louis II, King of Hungary, Bohemia and Croatia.

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