'Game of Thrones' Actor Eugene Simon—Lancel of House Lannister—In Real Life Is of House Bruce
Updated: Jul 21, 2019
The actor who plays the role of Lancel Lannister in Game of Thrones is actually a descendant of Clan Bruce and the royal houses of Scotland and England.
You likely know Eugene Simon as Lancel Lannister, the cousin and lover of Cersei Lannister in HBO's hit series Game of Thrones, based on the novels by George R.R. Martin. He's also starred as Jerome Clark in the series House of Anubis, as Eduard Einstein in the series Genius, as Young Ben Hur in the TV miniseries Ben Hur, as well as starring in the thriller The Lodgers, and more.
To Be A Knight
In Game of Thrones, Eugene Simon's character, Lancel Lanninster, was desirous for a more important position in the family. In the books, Lancel had ambitions to be a great knight, and idolized his cousin Jaime Lannister. In real life, the actor is descended from several knights, kings, and queens!
Descent from Clan Bruce
Eugene Simon has a vast array of noble ancestors, and is descended from 17 lords, barons, and earls from Clan Bruce, which originated in Scotland.
Elizabeth Bruce, Countess of Cardigan
Eugene Simon connects on to Clan Bruce line as early as his 7th great grandmother, Elizabeth Bruce, Countess of Cardigan, who was born in January 1689.
Eugene's 7th great grandmother was born Lady Elizabeth Bruce, being descended from generations of the Bruce family, going all the way back to the founding family member of the clan.
Elizabeth married George Brudenall, 3rd Earl of Cardigan, making Elizabeth the Countess of Cardigan. Her portrait (shown preceding the one above) was painted the same year of her marriage to the Earl of Cardigan.
Elizabeth, as The Countess of Cardigan, was one of twenty-one 'ladies of quality and distinction' who signed a petition calling for the establishment of the Foundling Hospital in London, a place for the "education and maintenance of exposed and deserted young children." The petition was instrumental in gaining further support for the children's home which was granted a Royal Charter in 1739.
8th Great Grandfather: Thomas Bruce, 2nd Earl of Ailesbury
Going back one more generation to Elizabeth's father, Thomas Bruce, 2nd Earl of Ailesbury, is the 8th great grandfather of Eugene Simon. Thomas was born in 1656 and held a long list of titles. He was a Member of Parliament, and became Gentleman of the Bedchamber for the king. Later he became Lord of the Bedchamber, Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire and was a Page of Honour at the coronation of King James II of England. His list of titles is getting close in competition to Daenerys' long-ass list of titles.
Thomas was really down with journaling. "Dear Journal," was important to this guy. He spent many years writing his Memoirs, which have been praised by historians for the vivid details of leading figures of the day, such as King Charles II, King James II and King William III. The memoirs were not published until 1890, but they leave an important detailed record of the lives and personalities of several prominent historical figures. Without his mad-journaling skillz, the world would not have as a rich of an understanding of these historical figures as we do now.
9th Great Grandfather: Robert Bruce, 1st Earl of Ailesbury
Going back another generation, Thomas' father was Robert Bruce, the 1st Earl of Ailesbury, and 9th great grandfather of Eugene Simon. In addition to being the Earl of Ailesbury, he was a Member of Parliament, Viscount Bruce of Ampthill, Baron Bruce of Skelton, and Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire. Not too shabby.
Robert Bruce married Lady Diana Grey on 16 February 1645. They had seventeen children, about half of which survived to adulthood. Robert was invested as a Privy Counsellor and a Gentleman of the Bedchamber to the king, made Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire and Hampshire, and was invested as a Fellow of the Royal Society and Lord Chamberlain.
10th Great Grandfather: Thomas Bruce, 1st Earl of Elgin
Another generation back is Scottish noble Thomas Bruce, the 1st Earl of Elgin and 10th great grandfather of Eugene Simon. Thomas' elder brother was killed in a duel, and that made Thomas the 3rd Baron Kinloss at the age of thirteen.
In 1624, King James I (who inherited the Scottish and English thrones), granted Houghton House to Thomas Bruce. It became the main residence of the Bruce family for over 100 years.
Thomas Bruce received a Master of Arts from the University of Oxford, and was invested as a Knight at Windsor Castle along with the Prince of Wales in 1638.
In addition to similar symbolism used in the heraldry of Eugene Simon's ancestral Bruce family, Thomas Bruce was one of many of Eugene Simon's ancestors invested as a Knight, just like his character Lancel Lannister in Game of Thrones.
11th Great Grandfather: Edward Bruce, 1st Lord Kinloss
Born in 1548, Edward Bruce was a Scottish lawyer and judge, and made Lord Kinloss in 1602. He played an important role in Scottish King James VI's succession to the English throne as King James I.
Edward Bruce was involved in the secret correspondence between King James VI of Scotland and Queen Elizabeth I of England. In the correspondence, it was determined that upon the death of Queen Elizabeth, James would ascend to the throne of England, since Elizabeth was childless. After Elizabeth's death, Edward Bruce accompanied King James VI to England where he would be crowned King James I of England.
Back to the Original Bruce
Eugene Simon's family line through Clan Bruce goes all the way back to Robert I de Brus, 1st Lord of Annandale. Robert de Brus was an Anglo-Norman lord who is the founder of the Bruce dynasty. In all, Eugene Simon's ancestry can be traced back through a direct line spanning nearly 1,000 years to Robert de Brus.
Descent from the Kings of Scotland
Not only is Eugene descended from knights, earls, barons, and lords from Clan Bruce, but he is also descended from royal blood. Eugene's 23rd great grandfather, Robert Bruce, 5th Lord of Annandale, who was born about 1210, was a descendant of the Scottish royal house through his mother, Isabel de Huntingdon. Isabel's great grandfather was King David I of Scotland, who was directly descended from nine Scottish kings going back to King Kenneth MacAlpin, the Pictish king traditionally identified as the first king of the Scots.
Descent from the Kings of England
Eugene is also descended from English royalty. Through his Stopford line, Eugene Simon is the 20th great grandson of King Edward III of England. Edward III had one of the longest reigns in England's history, and during that time he turned England into one of the most formidable military powers in Europe.
Edward III's 50 year reign saw developments in the evolution of Parliament and important developments in government legislation. Edward III is buried in Westminster Abbey in London.
As you can see, Eugene Simon was the perfect actor to play Lancel Lannister. Like Lancel, Eugene is descended from noble blood, knights, and major political influencers of the past. In addition, Eugene nailed the transformation of Lancel Lannister during the series in appearance, demeanor, and psyche. So much so that some viewers questioned if it was the same actor, the transformation was so startling. Bravo to Eugene for his amazing performance in the Game of Thrones series which has been a worldwide phenomenon for nearly a decade.
Eugene Simon and I (the author) are 15th cousins through Sir Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, as well as other noble lines.
About the Author
As a genealogist and family historian, I enjoy researching my own family tree and the family trees of others. It gives me a sense of someone’s background and what makes them who they are today. To see their roots, and where they come from, is inspiring to me. I’m often in awe of the experiences of their ancestors and how they connect to the present. I hope to inspire others to research their own family trees and find out where they come from by sharing interesting insights from the family trees of notable figures.
Questions? Comments? Shoot me a message on the contact form on my About page.
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