King John was the fourth and youngest legitimate son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. He was born on Christmas Eve 1167 at Beaumont Palace in Oxford, and was soon moved to the Abbey of Fontevrault in Anjou, to lead a life in the church. Even at this young age, John was petulant, unstable, spoilt and cruel. His red hair matched his red-faced fury, when he flew into a classic Plantagenet rage.
King John was known as Lackland, which was a nick-name jokingly given to him by his father. John did not receive any lands in his inheritance, which fuelled the nick-name. However, he did receive the title Lord of Ireland, in 1177. This epithet would later be reinforced during his reign, as King John would lose all his father’s lands in France.