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Episode 110 Mississippi Royalty The King and Queen of the Gypsies

Emil and Kelly Mitchell, known as the King and Queen of the Gypsies, have long been a part of Meridian, Mississippi lore but their story is complicated and often misunderstood

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Meridian Mississippi’s Rose Hill Cemetery is situated just West of downtown. Just as you enter the cemetery and pass the gates the road curves to the left. There you’ll find several graves adorned with Mardi Gras beads and covered with trinkets.

The inscription on one grave reads ‘Queen of the Gypsies’. Next to Kelly is the final resting place of her husband Emil Mitchell whose headstone reads ‘King of the Gypsies’.

The Mitchells have long been a part of Southern lore and a lot of folks romanticize their titles of King and Queen. The story of Emil and Kelly Mitchell, and the Romani people, is complicated and often misunderstood

This is the story of Mississippi Royalty…the King and Queen of the Gypsies

Episode Photos

Kelly Mitchell “Queen of the Gypsies”

Episode Sources

Queen of the Gypsies Dead. Our Southern Home. February 10, 1915
The Rose Hill Company of Players. Facebook
Queen Kelly Mitchell: A Slice of Meridian’s History. The Meridian Star. December 26, 2007
Historical tales abound within Rose Hill Cemetery. Today in Mississippi 
Fortune telling ordinance challenged. The Meridian Star. February 13, 2011
Meridian, Mississippi, the Queen City. The Meridian Star. October 28, 2011
Why Being ‘Gypped’ Hurts The Roma More Than It Hurts You. Code Switch NPR. December 30, 2013
Roma Culture: Customs, Traditions & Beliefs. Live Science. November 26, 2018
Meridian’s Royal Past. Mississippi FolkLife. February 4, 2019

Episode Music

Alone with my Thoughts by Esther Abrami  Licensed under Creative Commons
Theme Song “Dark & Troubled” by Pantherburn. Special thanks to Phillip St Ours for permission for use