Charles I, King of England

Charles, the son of James I of England and Anna of Denmark, was born at Dunfermline, Scotland, November 19 1600.
He married Henriette, daughter of Henri IV of France and Marie, Duchess of Tuscany, June 13 1625 in Canterbury Cathedral.


Charles I and Henriette of France

Charles succeeded his father, James I, as King of Great Britain in March 1625. Two years earlier, when Prince of Wales, Charles visited Madrid seeking a Spanish princess as his bride. The Spanish insisted on his conversion to the Catholic faith before any arrangement could be considered. Charles refused.

On returning to England, George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, made plans for the King to marry Henriette Marie of France. She was a firm Catholic and Charles pledged that she would be free to continue her faith in England and bring up their children as she wished until they reached the age of thirteen. Her retinue included a Bishop, 29 priests and 410 assorted attendants.

Charles I claimed to rule by divine right and his demands for money led to clashes with Parliament. His response was to dissolve the institution which he did on three occasions, outraging its members. On the last occasion, he ruled for eleven years without any representation.

In 1640 Charles was forced to recall Parliament. The first session (Short Parliament), lasted for three weeks. When it was recalled a second time (Long Parliament). Charles attempted to arrest five of its members, this caused the gates of London to be closed to the king and the English Civil War to begin.

King Charles was executed outside Whitehall Palace, January 30 1649, and buried in St George's Chapel, Windsor. He was succeeded by Oliver Cromwell.

Henriette died August 31 1669 at Chateau St Colombe, Paris, and was buried in St Denis Cathedral.

Execution of Charles I