Royal Relationships with Body Art


There are various perceptions people hold about tattoos; for some, a tattoo will be a sign of their service to a military group, for others, it will be an expression of their identity, and for a few, it will be a family tradition. Royalty is often in the eye of the public, however, so their tattoos and body art decisions are often discussed – but how much could you tell one of your customers about the world’s most famous tattoos?







King Edward VII


Way back when in 1862, King Edward VII sat on the English throne. He is well known for fostering good relationships between Britain and France, as well as other European countries, but aside from his royal duties he is recognised as quite the character – the personification of the leisurely elite, he was confident, charming and free-spirited.

King Edward’s decision to get a tattoo was religiously inspired, as he received a tattoo of the Jerusalem Cross on his arm during a visit to the Holy Land in 1862 as a young adult. Interestingly, it was thought that many early Christians would get tattoos of the cross on their bodies as a sign of community and religious dedication. In AD 325, however, the Emperor outlawed face tattoos because they disfigured God’s image, and this rapidly developed into all churches denouncing tattoos of any kind on the human body.






King Harold II


Going back even earlier than King Edward, King Harold of England also celebrated tattoos. It is thought that one of his prominent chest tattoos read ‘Edith and England’, referring to his wife and country. For King Harold II, tattoos were a means of reaffirming his passions and rejoicing in positive emotions.

Later, in 1066, King Harold II was identified amongst the dead by his magnificent tattoos. His tattoos painted him as a patriot to his country, devoted to loving, and as a unique individual unafraid to express himself.



Prince Frederik of Denmark


For a more modern story, you should look towards Prince Frederik of Denmark who will ascend to the throne with a shark on his calf. Prince Frederik’s tattoos are in deference to his time spent serving in the Danish Navy, just like his grandfather King Frederik IX who displayed dragons and birds across his torso for similar reasons.

Sailors have a reputation and history for their tattoos, so it’s no surprise that either Frederik has decided in favour of a tattoo or two. Some popular tattoo amongst seafarers includes the anchor (which means that the sailor journeyed across the Atlantic), as well as a shellback turtle to show that the sailor has crossed the equator.







Meghan Markle


While not a permanent tattoo, Meghan’s henna was just as meaningful as many of the tattoos on this blog. On a journey to Morocco, the Duchess of Sussex gladly received a henna flower on her right hand – a Moroccan tradition that celebrates pregnancy. Her henna artist explained: “It is a traditional practice for pregnant women in Moroccan. It is to bring luck for the baby”.

In Meghan’s case, her henna tattoo was born out of love for her baby, like King Harold’s tattoo celebrating his love for his wife.





Princess Sofia of Sweden


Before marriage, the princess used to work as a reality star and glamour model, but her move into the royal family has hardly diminished her love for tattoos. In 2015, she married Prince Carl Philip, fourth in line to the Swedish throne, and during the ceremony, she proudly displayed the sun tattoo on the nape of her neck with her hair swept away from the region and her dress’ neckline scooping just below the tattoo.





Sophia’s love for tattoos comes out of a love for fashion, and we’re happy to see that she was able to maintain her tattoos as a member of the Swedish royal family.

When you’re tattooing your next client, why not impress them with your extensive knowledge of the culture around tattoos? Talking to your customers while you use your tattoo equipment is a great way to keep those new to tattoos calm and happy, so make sure to stay tuned to our blog for more information regarding tattoo trends and culture.