King Charles I


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King Charles ICharles I., King of England ; second son of James I.; was born at Dunfermline, Scotland, Nov. 19, 1600. The death of his elder brother, Henry, in 1612, made him heir-apparent to the throne, which he ascended as King in 1625. He sought the hand of the infanta of Spain, but finally married (1625) Henrietta Maria, daughter of Henry IV. of France. She was a Roman Catholic, and had been procured for Charles by the infamous Duke of Buckingham, whose influence over the young King was disastrous to England and to the monarch himself.

Charles was naturally a good man, but his education, especially concerning the doctrine of the divine right of kings and the sanctity of the royal prerogative, led to an outbreak in England which cost him his life (See Regicides). Civil war began in 1641, and ended with his execution at the beginning of 1649. His reign was at first succeeded by the rule of the " Long Parliament," and then by Cromwell -a half-monarch, called the " Protector." After various vicissitudes during the civil war, Charles was captured, and imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle, in the Isle of Wight, from whence he was taken to London at the close of 1648. He was brought to trial before a special high court in Westminster Hall on January 20, 1649, on the 27th was condemned to death, and on the 30th was beheaded on a scaffold in front of the banqueting-house at Whitehall.

Charles had eight children by his queen, Henrietta, six of whom survived him. His family was driven into exile; but a little more than eleven years after his death his eldest son, Charles, ascended the throne as King of Great Britain. The son held much more intimate relations, as monarch, with the English-American colonies than the father. (See King Charles II.)



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