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'Game of Thrones' Actor Eugene Simon—Lancel of House Lannister—In Real Life Is of House Bruce

Updated: Jan 29

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.

Eugene Simon as Lancel Lannister in 'Game of Thrones.' / Image via HBO

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.

Eugene Simon's character, Lancel Lannister, went through quite a transformation during the series. / Image by HBO.

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!

Actor Eugene Simon

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.

Eugene Simon's line of descent from Clan Bruce. / Chart by Mike Batie

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.

Caught studying music again! Eugene Simon's 7th great grandmother, Elizabeth Bruce, Countess of Cardigan. / "Lady Elizabeth Bruce," by Godfrey Kneller, 1707.

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.

George Brudenall, 3rd Earl of Cardigan, husband of Lady Elizabeth Bruce, and 7th great grandfather of Eugene Simon. Obviously we can see where Eugene gets his stylish fashion and blue eyes from.

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 had quite a crib! After her marriage, she resided here at Deene Park in Northamptonshire. / Image by Julian Dowse

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.

Killer wig, man! Eugene Simon's 8th great grandfather, Thomas Bruce, 2nd Earl of Ailesbury. / Painting by François Harrewijn.

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.

Who wore the long blond locks better? Eugene Simon (right) as Lancel Lannister, or his 9th great grandfather, Robert Bruce (left).

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.

This bodacious babe all glammed up with heaps of pearls is Eugene Simon's 9th great grandmother, Lady Diana Grey, who became Countess of Ailesbury. / Painting by Henri Gascar

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.

Eugene Simon's 10th great grandfather, Thomas Bruce, the 1st Earl of Elgin.

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.

Check out this crib! This was the ancestral home of Eugene Simon's ancestors: Houghton House. On the left is a rendering of the house, on the right are the ruins of the house today.

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.

House Lannister uses similar symbolism to Eugene Simon's ancestral heraldry.

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.

Eugene Simon's 11th great grandfather, Edward Bruce, 1st Lord Kinloss.

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.

Edward Bruce's blinged out tomb at King's College London. Notice Edward casually laying on his side, propped up on one arm while his family prays for his soul below. The Italian Renaissance marble motif would have cost a pretty penny. / Image by KiloLimaCharlie.

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.

Eugene Simon is descended through nearly 1,000 years of ancestors from Clan Bruce going back to about the year 1070.

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.

Eugene Simon's line of descent from the royal house of Scotland. / Chart by Mike Batie

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.

Eugene Simon's line of descent from King Edward III of England. / Chart by Mike Batie

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.

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.

—Mike Batie

Questions? Comments? Shoot me a message on the contact form on my About page.


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