Charles 1

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Charles I / Kings and Queens

  • Name  : Charles I
  • Born  : 1600
  • Died  : 1649
  • Category  : Kings and Queens
  • Finest Moment : He had a ?good execution? (1649)

The last King to be born in Scotland, in the royal residence at Dunfermline. His elder brother Henry was heir, which seemed just as well at the time, as Charles was a sickly and slow developing boy. He was still crawling at three, but fortunately was walking by age 12, when his brother died. When he was crowned at Westminster, aged 25, he was almost normal in development. He was certainly able to marry, that same year, the French princess Henrietta Maria. The wedding was happy and even fruitful, but was a political disaster. They reinforced each other with their over-emphasis of their right to rule. She attended Mass, while his service were too Anglican for the liking of the Scottish Presbyterians.

It was not until 1633 that he paid his first visit to Scotland. Coinciding with an expensive promotion of Edinburgh's status, too much finery at his belated coronation at Scone, and the recognition that the bishops down south were being allowed to continue their meddling, the Presbyterians drew irrevocably apart. The feelings of alienation led ultimately to the drawing up of The Covenant in 1638, and two Bishops' Wars. The Scottish Covenanters began to strengthen bonds with the English parliamentarians, and Civil War broke out (1642-6).

When Charles realised that the Royalist cause in England was hopeless, he turned to Scotland. Initially this was also of little help, but gradually the moderate Covenanters began to back Charles. They backed him when he escaped to the Isle of Wight, but on their defeat at Preston in 1648, the writing was on the wall. Charles was tried by an unrepresentative English Parliament, found guilty, and executed.

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