Tuesday, December 20, 2022

The Tudors? Hardly the only red-haired royal house!

As you probably know, there are many articles on the internet dedicated to the Tudors and their red hair. In these articles, the authors enumerate Tudors with red hair and try to understand where they got this hair colour from (for example, I recently came across this video and there is also this article).
However, if you follow our partner blog Famous Redheads in History, you will have noticed that the royal house Tudor is hardly the only one that has had members with red hair. On the contrary, red hair was the norm among royals and aristocrats in the past. So, I decided to do a little experiment, namely to count the members of the most important royal and aristocratic families on the blog, and I'm sure the result will surprise you!
Of course, keep in mind that this work has no scientific pretensions, not least because we cannot be 100% sure that every person on the blog actually had red hair: for some we only have one portrait, or a single written description. On the other hand, these are just the people found so far, but maybe we will find more in the future.
Before we begin, a couple of methodological premises:
1) some of the queens are mentioned twice, once in the royal house they belonged to by birth and once in the royal house they entered by marriage;
2) in addition to the royal houses, I have also included some aristocratic families, such as the Spencers, the Medicis, the Sforzas, etc.

Reigning imperial house of Russia from 1613 to 1917. They achieved prominence after the Tsarina, Anastasia Romanova, was married to the First Tsar of Russia, Ivan the Terrible.
Grand Duke Michael Pavlovich of Russia; Catherine II of Russia; Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia; Alexandra Feodorovna; Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna of Russia; Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia; Peter the Great of Russia; Alexander I of Russia; Paul I of Russia.
(total: 9 people)

The Jagiellons reigned in several Central European countries between the 14th and 16th centuries. Members of the dynasty were Kings of Poland (1386–1572), Grand Dukes of Lithuania (1377–1392 and 1440–1572), Kings of Hungary (1440–1444 and 1490–1526), and Kings of Bohemia and imperial electors (1471–1526). The Polish "Golden Age", the period of the reigns of Sigismund I and Sigismund II, the last two Jagiellonian kings, or more generally the 16th century, is most often identified with the rise of the culture of Polish Renaissance.
Isabella Jagiellon; Hedwig Jagiellon; Sigismund II Augustus; Elizabeth Jagiellon; Anna Jagiellon; Sophia Jagiellon of Poland; Louis II of Hungary; Anna of Bohemia and Hungary.
(total: 8 people)

Royal house which originated from the lands of Anjou in France. The family held the English throne from 1154 (with the accession of Henry II at the end of the Anarchy) to 1485, when Richard III died in battle.
Henry V of England; Henry IV of England; Richard I, king of England; John, King of England; Henry II of England; Geoffrey V Plantagenet; Joan of England; Henry, the Young King.
(total: 9 people)


The Ottoman dynasty consisted of the members of the imperial House of Osman, also known as the Ottomans. The Ottoman dynasty, named after Osman I, ruled the Ottoman Empire from c. 1299 to 1922.
Abdulmejid I; Bezmiâlem Sultan; Dürrüşehvar Sultan; Nazikeda Kadin; Selim II.
(total: 5 people)

Last Muslim dynasty in the Iberian Peninsula, ruling the Emirate of Granada from 1230 until 1492.
Muhammad I of Granada; Muhammed VI.
(total: 2 people)

The Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt was a State of the Holy Roman Empire, ruled by a younger branch of the House of Hesse. It was formed in 1567 following the division of the Landgraviate of Hesse between the four sons of Landgrave Philip I.
The residence of the landgraves was in Darmstadt, hence the name. As a result of the Napoleonic Wars, the landgraviate was elevated to the Grand Duchy of Hesse following the Empire's dissolution in 1806.

Princess Elisabeth of Hesse and by Rhine; Alexandra Feodorovna.
(total: 2 people)

Prominent French noble family, that was involved heavily in the French Wars of Religion. The senior line, that of the Dukes of Guise became extinct in 1688. The vast estates and title were disputed and diverted by various relatives although several junior branches of the family (Dukes of Mayenne, Dukes of Elbeuf etc.) perpetuated the male line until 1825.
Antoinette de Bourbon; Mary of Guise; Mary, Queen of Scots.
(total: 3 people)

Ernestine, Thuringian duchy ruled by a branch of the House of Wettin, consisting of territories in the present-day states of Thuringia and Bavaria in Germany. It lasted from 1826 to 1918.
Maud of Wales; Marie of Romania; Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha; Carlota of Mexico; Louise, Princess Royal and Duchess of Fife.
(total: 5 people)

Also known as the House of Austria is one of the most prominent and important dynasties in European history.
The house takes its name from Habsburg Castle, a fortress built in the 1020s in present-day Switzerland by Radbot of Klettgau, who named his fortress Habsburg. His grandson Otto II was the first to take the fortress name as his own, adding "Count of Habsburg" to his title. The throne of the Holy Roman Empire was continuously occupied by the Habsburgs from 1440 until their extinction in the male line in 1740 and, after the death of Francis I, from 1765 until its dissolution in 1806. The house also produced kings of Bohemia, Hungary, Croatia, Spain, Portugal and Galicia-Lodomeria, with their respective colonies; rulers of several principalities in the Low Countries and Italy; and in the 19th century, emperors of Austria and of Austria-Hungary as well as one emperor of Mexico. The family split several times into parallel branches, most consequentially in the mid-16th century between its Spanish and Austrian branches following the abdication of Charles V. Although they ruled distinct territories, the different branches nevertheless maintained close relations and frequently intermarried. The cadet branch of Habsburg-Lorraine still exists today.

Philip II of Spain; Cecilia Renata of Austria; Anne of Austria, Queen of Poland; Archduchess Magdalena of Austria; Anna of Austria, Queen of Spain; Elisabeth of Austria; Charles II of Spain; Mary of Hungary (governor of the Netherlands); Catherine of Austria; Isabella of Austria; Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor; Eleanor of Austria; Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor,; Philip I of Castile; Isabella Clara Eugenia; Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor; Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor; Philip IV of Spain; Maria Anna of Spain; Anne of Austria; Ladislaus the Posthumous; Catherine of Austria; Maria Leopoldine of Austria-Tyrol.
(total: 23 people)

The House of Habsburg-Lorraine (German: Haus Habsburg-Lothringen) originated from the marriage in 1736 of Francis III, Duke of Lorraine and Bar, and Maria Theresa of Austria, later successively Queen of Bohemia, Queen of Hungary, Queen of Croatia and Archduchess of Austria. Its members are the legitimate surviving line of both the House of Habsburg and the House of Lorraine, inheriting their patrimonial possessions and vocation to the Empire from their female ancestress of the House of Habsburg and from the male line of the House of Lorraine. The House of Habsburg-Lorraine still exists today and the current head of the family is Karl von Habsburg.
Marie Antoinette of France; Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria.
(total: 2 people)

Royal dynasty which first ruled in the Crown of Castile and then expanded to the Crown of Aragon in the late middle ages to the early modern period. The dynasty was replaced by the House of Habsburg upon the effective enthronement of Charles V as king of Castile and Aragon in 1516, even though his mentally incompetent and secluded mother Joanna lived until 1555.
Isabella of Aragon; Eleanor of Naples, Duchess of Ferrara; Maria of Aragon; Joanna of Castile; Isabella I of Castile; Isabella, Princess of Asturias; Catherine of Aragon; Henry IV of Castile; Eleanor, Countess of Alburquerque.
(total: 9 people)

The House of Tudor was a royal house of largely Welsh origin that held the English throne from 1485 to 1603. They descended from the Tudors of Penmynydd and Catherine of France. They succeeded the House of Plantagenet as rulers of the Kingdom of England, and were succeeded by the House of Stuart.
Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox; Margaret Tudor; Mary Tudor, Queen of France; Mary I, Queen of England; Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Richmond and Somerset; Elizabeth of York; Edward VI of England; Catherine Parr; Arthur Tudor; Catherine Howard; Catherine of Aragon,; Henry VIII of England; Queen Elizabeth I.
(total: 13 people)

Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty. They succeeded the House of Capet (or "Direct Capetians") to the French throne, and were the royal house of France from 1328 to 1589. Junior members of the family founded cadet branches in Orléans, Anjou, Burgundy, and Alençon.
Charles, Count of Angoulême; John II of France; Margaret of Valois; Louis XII of France; Charlotte of France; Henry II of France; Claude of France; Madeleine of Valois.
(total: 8 people)

Ruling family of the Caliphate between 661 and 750 and later of Al-Andalus between 756 and 1031.
Hisham I of Cordoba; Abd-ar-Rahman I; Abd-ar-Rahman III.
(total: 3 people)

European dynasty of French origin, a branch of the Capetian dynasty, the royal House of France. Bourbon kings first ruled France and Navarre in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Spanish Bourbon dynasty held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma. Spain and Luxembourg have monarchs of the House of Bourbon.
The royal Bourbons originated in 1272, when the youngest son of King Louis IX married the heiress of the lordship of Bourbon. All legitimate, living members of the House of Bourbon, including its cadet branches, are direct agnatic descendants of Henry IV through his son Louis XIII of France. The current King of Spain, Felipe VI, and the current Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Henri, belong to this house.

Luisa Carlotta of Naples and Sicily; Infanta Isabel Fernanda of Spain; Isabella II of Spain; Antoinette de Bourbon; Elisabeth of France (1602–1644); the 6 children of Francis I of the Two Sicilies; Francis I of the Two Sicilies; Marie-Caroline of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Duchess of Berry; Infante Francisco de Paula of Spain; Maria Teresa Rafaela of Spain; Henry IV of France; Maria de' Medici.
(total: 17 people)

Italian banking family and political dynasty that first began to gather prominence under Cosimo de' Medici, in the Republic of Florence during the first half of the 15th century. The family originated in the Mugello region of Tuscany, and prospered gradually until it was able to fund the Medici Bank. This bank was the largest in Europe during the 15th century and facilitated the Medicis' rise to political power in Florence, although they officially remained citizens rather than monarchs until the 16th century. A cadet branch of the family (the Princes of Ottajano) still exists today.
Elisabeth of France (1602–1644); Eleonora di Garzia di Toledo; Pietro de' Medici; Maria de' Medici; Catherine de' Medici; Eleonora Gonzaga the Younger; Giovanni di Pierfrancesco de' Medici; Lodovico de' Medici; Lucrezia de' Medici; Lucrezia Maria Romola de' Medici; Luisa di Lorenzo de' Medici; Clarice Orsini; Piero di Lorenzo de' Medici; Joanna of Austria, Grand Duchess of Tuscany; Bianca Cappello; Isabella Romola de' Medici; Antonio de' Medici.
(total: 17 people)

European dynasty of North Italian origin whose members ruled parts of Italy and Germany for many centuries. The original House of Este's elder branch, which is known as the House of Welf, included dukes of Bavaria and of Brunswick. This branch produced Britain's Hanoverian monarchs, as well as one Emperor of Russia (Ivan VI) and one Holy Roman Emperor (Otto IV). The original House of Este's younger branch, which is simply called the House of Este, included rulers of Ferrara (1240–1597), and of Modena (–1859) and Reggio (1288–1796). This branch's male line became extinct with the death of Ercole III in 1803.
Beatrice d'Este; Eleanor of Naples, Duchess of Ferrara; Lucrezia de' Medici; Isabella d'Este; Leonello d'Este.
(total: 5 people)

Royal dynasty that was established in 1003 in the historical Savoy region. Through gradual expansion, the family grew in power from ruling a small Alpine county north-west of Italy to absolute rule of the Kingdom of Sicily from 1713 to 1720, when they were handed the island of Sardinia, over which they would exercise direct rule from then onward.
Through its junior branch of Savoy-Carignano, the House of Savoy led the Italian unification in 1860 and ruled the Kingdom of Italy until 1946; they also briefly ruled the Kingdom of Spain in the 19th century. The Savoyard kings of Italy were Victor Emmanuel II, Umberto I, Victor Emmanuel III, and Umberto II. The last monarch reigned for a few weeks before being deposed following the institutional referendum of 1946, after which the Italian Republic was proclaimed
Marie-Louise, Princess de Lamballe; Maria Pia of Savoy; Infanta Beatrice of Portugal, Duchess of Savoy; Bona of Savoy, Duchess of Milan.
(total: 4 people)

Italian princely family that ruled Mantua in Lombardy, northern Italy from 1328 to 1708 (first as a captaincy-general, then margraviate, and finally duchy). They also ruled Monferrato in Piedmont and Nevers in France, as well as many other lesser fiefs throughout Europe. The family includes a saint, twelve cardinals and fourteen bishops. Two Gonzaga descendants became empresses of the Holy Roman Empire (Eleonora Gonzaga and Eleonora Gonzaga-Nevers), and one became queen of Poland (Marie Louise Gonzaga).
Eleonora Gonzaga the Elder; Margherita Gonzaga, Duchess of Ferrara; Vincenzo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua; Eleonora Gonzaga the Younger; Margaret of Bavaria, Marchioness of Mantua; Francesco II Gonzaga; Federico II of Gonzaga.
(total: 7 people)

The Visconti of Milan are a noble Italian family. They rose to power in Milan during the Middle Ages where they ruled from 1277 to 1447, initially as lords then as dukes, and several collateral branches still exist. The effective founder of the Visconti lordship of Milan was the archbishop Ottone, who wrested control of the city from the rival Della Torre family in 1277. The cadet branch Visconti di Modrone still exists today. The famous film director Luchino Visconti belonged to it.
 Gian Galeazzo Visconti; Bianca Maria Visconti.
(total: 2 people)

Ruling family of Renaissance Italy, based in Milan. They acquired the Duchy of Milan following the extinction of the Visconti family in the mid-15th century, Sforza rule ending in Milan with the death of the last member of the family's main branch in 1535.
Isabella of Aragon; Bona Sforza d'Aragona; Beatrice d'Este; Anna Maria Sforza; Maximilan Sforza; Bianca Maria Sforza; Ippolita Maria Sforza; Bianca Maria Visconti; Galeazzo Maria Sforza; Gian Galeazzo Sforza; Bona of Savoy, Duchess of Milan; Caterina Sforza; Bianca Bentivoglio; Lodovico de' Medici (son of Caterina Sforza); Laura Bentivoglio; Bianca Riario.
(total: 16 people)

First historical ruling dynasty of Poland. The first documented Polish monarch was Duke Mieszko I (c. 930–992). The Piasts' royal rule in Poland ended in 1370 with the death of king Casimir III the Great.
Branches of the Piast dynasty continued to rule in the Duchy of Masovia and in the Duchies of Silesia until the last male Silesian Piast died in 1675. The Piasts intermarried with several noble lines of Europe, and possessed numerous titles, some within the Holy Roman Empire. The Jagiellonian kings after John I Albert were also descended in the female line from Casimir III's daughter.

Stanisław of Masovia; Anna of Masovia.
(total: 2 people)

Aristocratic family in the United Kingdom. From the 16th century, its members have held numerous titles including the dukedom of Marlborough, the earldoms of Sunderland and Spencer, and the Churchill barony. Two prominent members of the family during the 20th century were Sir Winston Churchill and Diana, Princess of Wales. The House was founded in the 15th century by Henry Spencer (died c. 1478), from whom all members descend.
John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer; John Poyntz Spencer, 5th Earl Spencer; Winston Churchill (full name Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill); George John Spencer, 2nd Earl Spencer; Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire.
(total: 5 people)

The House of Stuart, originally spelt Stewart, was a royal house of Scotland, England, Ireland and later Great Britain. The family name comes from the office of High Steward of Scotland, which had been held by the family progenitor Walter fitz Alan (c. 1150). The name Stewart and variations had become established as a family name by the time of his grandson Walter Stewart. The first monarch of the Stewart line was Robert II, whose male-line descendants were kings and queens in Scotland from 1371, and of England and Great Britain from 1603, until 1714.
James Francis Edward Stuart; Charles Edward Stuart; James II of Scotland; Arbella Stuart; Mary of Guise; James IV of Scotland; Mary, Queen of Scots; James V of Scotland; James VI and I of England; Anne of Denmark; Elizabeth Stuart; Charles I of England; Elizabeth Stuart.
(total: 12 people)

European royal house of German origin that ruled Hanover, Great Britain, and Ireland at various times during the 17th to 20th centuries. The house originated in 1635 as a cadet branch of the House of Brunswick-Lüneburg, growing in prestige until Hanover became an Electorate in 1692. George I became the first Hanoverian monarch of Great Britain and Ireland in 1714. At Queen Victoria's death in 1901, the throne of the United Kingdom passed to her eldest son Edward VII, a member of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The last reigning members of the House lost the Duchy of Brunswick in 1918 when Germany became a republic. The House of Hanover is now the only surviving branch of the House of Welf, which is the senior branch of the House of Este. The current head of the House of Hanover is Ernst August, Prince of Hanover.
Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales; George III of the United Kingdom.
(total: 2 people)

The House of Aviz, also known as the Joanine Dynasty (Dinastia Joanina), was a dynasty of Portuguese origin which flourished during the Renaissance and the period of the Portuguese discoveries, when Portugal expanded its power globally. The Aviz ruled Portugal from 1385 until 1580, when the Philippine Dynasty succeeded to the throne following the Portuguese succession crisis of 1580.
Isabella of Portugal; Sebastian of Portugal; Infanta Beatrice of Portugal, Duchess of Savoy.
(total: 3 people)

Thus, we have shown not only that the Tudors were not the only royal family with red hair, but that the reddest of all were the Habsburgs!

Habsburg "ancient" coat of arms of the Counts of Habsburg

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