Heritage > Rulers

James I of England, 1603-1625

James VI of Scotland, 1567-1625

James was born in 1566, and was the son of Mary Queen of Scots. He married Anne of Denmark and had six children: Henry, Frederick (died 1612), Elizabeth, Margaret (died young), Charles, Robert, Mary and Sophia.

James succeeded as King of Scots on July 24, 1567, at the age of thirteen months, and became King of England and Ireland on March 24, 1603, at the age of thirty-six, upon the death of Queen Elizabeth.

The people of England were excited to have a new King after the previous Queen, unfortunately they were disappointed. The sight of the new King arriving in London must have been unusual. As he stepped down from his carriage, the people would have seen a rather large, portly gentleman with rolling and bulging eyes. A sight which would have been exaggerated by his dagger proof quilted breeches and doublet. The King had a terrible phobia about seeing drawn steel.

It was difficult for James to communicate with his courtiers, his Scottish accent was puzzling, and his tongue was too large for his mouth.

James was used to dealing with the Scottish Parliament, but when it came to the English Parliament it was a different story. The English Parliament was far stronger and more forceful than the Scottish and James had to bring in 'management' favourites from Scotland to help him eventually enlisting aristocrats from society.

The two principal favourites of James I were in succession, Robert Ker and George Villiers. Both were good looking and high-spirited young men. Ker angered the nation by encouraging the King to make an alliance with Spain, and by helping him to raise dubious taxes.

Parliament were furious at his kind of preferrential treatment, asserting the necessity for its agreement, if not control, in matters of finance and foreign policy and that this was the birth right of England and its people. King James was furious and ran to Parliament and tore the Journal of the House papers up. This had set the scene for the Civil war, which was not aided by his son inheriting his need for absolute power and demonstrating it to the Houses of Parliament.

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