Heritage > Rulers

Charles I, 1625-1649

Charles was born in 1600 and married Henrietta Maria, daughter of the King of France. Their children were: Charles, Mary, James, Elizabeth, Anne, Catherine, Henry and Henrietta Anne.

Charles' childhood was spent, mainly in the shadow of his elder brother, the Prince of Wales, who died when Charles was twelve years old.

Charles managed to persuade his father into a war with Spain. This war did not occur until Charles, himself was on the throne, and it then became a war with France also. War need great expense, which was not readily available, and Charles levied huge taxes and imposed martial law.

The Commons at Parliament were not happy with Charles views and ideas. They created the 'Petition of Right', which made all the rulings made by Charles illegal. However Charles immediately dissolved Parliament, imprisoned all the members and became a dictator for eleven years.

As the years passed, it became more obvious that the people were restless. It was the religious liturgy passed by the Archbishop Laud, which saw the English and Scottish Churches as a being within the whole of the Catholic Church and which completely demolished Puritanism. The Scots were understandably furious and created an army based in the North of England.

Parliament was recalled, with Charles' own courts for his rulings and sanctions abolished and he forced to face a final defeat after the Five Members confrontation, when he had no alternative but to face a trial of arms. His opposition leader was Oliver Cromwell, in charge of the Parliamentary army. This resulted in the terrible Civil War.

Charles surrendered in 1646 to the Scottish Army, who passed Charles to Cromwell's army for £400,000. Two years of negotiation followed, for which Charles was unsuited, apart from his religious beliefs which led to the conception of the Church, as Charles, a man of honour.

Eventually Charles was beheaded.

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