Stuart King : Charles I

Charles I was born on the 19th November 1600, at Dunfermline Palace, Scotland to parents King James I (VI of Scotland) and Anne of Denmark.

In January of 1605, Charles received the title of the Duke of York, and made a Knight of the Bath, knight of the Garter in 1611.

In November of 1612, his brother Henry died from suspected typhoid, and this made him heir apparent to the English crown.  He automatically gained additional titles; Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, and in 1616, Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester.

On the 27th March 1625, his father King James I died, and he ascended to the English throne.  On the 2nd February 1626, he was crowned King Charles I of England at Westminster Abbey, without his wife at his side.  She, a Roman Catholic would not participate in a Protestant religious ceremony.

His father James I was in favour of a Spanish marriage for Charles with Maria Anna, but Parliament made it clear, they would not approve such a marriage.  So it was, on the 1st May 1625 Charles married Henrietta Maria, daughter of Henry IV of France by proxy in front of Notre Dame de Paris.  On the 13th June 1625 Charles I of England married Henrietta Maria in Canterbury. 

Children:  Charles II, James II & VII, Elizabeth, Anne, Henry,  Duke of Gloucester, Henrietta, Duchess of Orleans, Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange.

Charles had informed Parliament, that a marriage to a Roman Catholic would not change religious lifestyle of a Protestant England.  Saying that he added to the French treaty of marriage, that he promised to remove all restraints, upon Catholic subjects residing in England.

Charles I had delayed the opening of his first Parliament, until the second marriage ceremony had taken place on English soil.

Charles believed, much as his father had before him, it was his divine right as King, to rule without interference from Parliament.

In 1625, Charles dissolved Parliament, and again in 1626 as attempts to impeach George Villiers, the Earl of Buckingham over war against Spain and support of French Huguenots.  In May of 1626 the Duke of Buckingham, was nominated as Chancellor of Cambridge University by Charles, showing his trust and support of his friend. 

On the 23rd August, George Villiers, the Earl of Buckingham, known to have had an intimate relationship with James I, but disliked much by Parliament was assassinated.

Charles forces through highly unpopular “Ship Money,” tax to raise funds without the consent of Parliament.  They replied in 1628 by presenting him with the Petition of Right a declaration of the “Rights and Liberties of the Subject,” which under pressure, he had no choice but to abide by its terms.

In 1629 Charles steps forward and dissolves Parliament, and opted to rule as he believes it is his divine right from 1629 – 1640.

The Short Parliament, met in April of 1640, and the main topic, led to their refusal to grant Charles funds, until grievances between the two sides had been ironed out.  A stale mate existed and Parliament was dissolved once again.

In November of 1640, the Long Parliament was assembled, and an Act was passed, preventing the dissolvement of Parliament without consent of all parties.

Charles and Parliament, could not work with each other, they were at odds with each other.  Charles failure of 4th January 1642, of arresting five parliamentary leaders, believed Parliament had become too Puritanical.

Charles I, felt he had no choice, and on the 22nd August 1642, withdrew from London, and declared war on Parliament, raising his standard at Nottingham.  The English Civil War of 1642-1648 had begun.

In October 1642, the Royalists won a tactical victory over Parliamentary forces at the “Battle of Edgehill.”

In 1643 Royalists defeated Parliamentary forces at the “Battle of Chalgrove Field,” and take Bristol.

On the 16th June 1645, Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army defeated Royalist forces.

In April of 1646, Charles barely escapes with his life from the “Siege of Oxford,” surrendering at Newark to the Scottish Army.

In January 1647, Scottish forces handed Charles I, over to Parliamentary forces, and in June Cromwell’s forces escorted him to Hampton Court Palace.  In the November he briefly escapes, and is recaptured and held at Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight.

In January of 1649, a court of justice is convened by the House of Commons, to hear the case against King Charles I.  For, he has been accused of treason against England; pursuing his own objectives, rather than those of England.

Charles refused to plead, in the belief the court was unlawful, and that the monarch, had absolute authority of his kingdom, granted to him by God.

The court challenged the question of sovereign immunity, stating the King of England, was not a person, but an office to govern by the laws of the land.

On the 26th January 1649, the court had found him guilty, and sentenced him to death.  On Tuesday the 30th January 1649, King Charles I of England was beheaded in front of the Banqueting House in Whitehall, London. 

An act of Parliament was passed, on the 30th January 1649, forbidding the automatic succession of the son of Charles I.  On the 7th February, the office of the King had been abolished.

On the 9th February 1649, he was buried in Henry VIII’s vault, in St.George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

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