Vikings Wiki

Rowan David Oakes (born October 14, 1983) is a British actor, director, producer, and environmentalist. He portrays Earl Godwin in the Netflix series Vikings: Valhalla.


Oakes is the son of Jeremy Charles Oakes, a Church of England canon, and Fiona Brockhurst, a professional musician. He grew up in Fordingbridge, Hampshire in England. Oakes went to school in Salisbury, Wiltshire, where he became head boy at Bishop Wordsworth's Grammar School.

Oakes trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, beginning in 2005, and graduated in 2007. Before training professionally as an actor, he studied at University of Manchester where he received a First in English Literature. David was also on the board of governors for the Conservatoire of Dance and Drama. He is best known for playing Prince Ernest in ITV's Victoria, Juan Borgia in The Borgias, and George Duke of Clarence in The White Queen. On the film side, Oakes led Cold Skin and the multi-award nominated The Garden of Evening Mists.

Oakes is an environmentalist and an ambassador for the Wildlife Trusts and the Woodland Trust. He produces and hosts a Natural History podcast called Trees A Crowd. Each episode explores how the countryside has inspired his guests' careers as they reflect on how growing up in the natural world became working for the natural world. His podcast is a passion project to explore his lifelong fascination with wildlife. He also set up a theatre company called Dog Ate Cake with a long-term theatrical collaborator Henry Bell.

Following his infant niece being diagnosed with a lung condition, Oakes has been heavily involved with the British Lung Foundation. Another charity he supports is Anno's Africa, an arts-based charity working with Kenyan orphans. He supports the UK-based Shakespeare Schools Festival.

He has been in a relationship with actress Natalie Dormer since 2019. They entered into a civil partnership in February 2023 in Bath, Somerset. They have a daughter together who was born in January 2021.


  • His father is a Canon of Salisbury Cathedral, the Cathedral that provided much of the source material for The Pillars of the Earth.
  • He can play the clarinet and bass clarinet and is a strong bass singer.
  • He is an avid follower of folk music and supports the Bristol folk group Sheelanagig.
  • He has an extensive collection of canoes. His preferred canoe method is kayak but he also enjoys Canadian canoeing.
  • He is an avid fine line sketcher and is increasingly known for sketching on-set animals.
  • Oakes is a PADI-certified "Divemaster."
  • He is 6 feet tall.