King Charles IRoyalty
Born: 19 November 1600
Died: 30 January 1649 (beheading)
Birthplace: Dunfermline, Scotland
Best known as: The British king beheaded in 1649 after civil war
Charles I was the king of Great Britain and Ireland from 1625 until he was executed for treason in 1649. The second son of King James I and Anne of Denmark, Charles became heir to the throne at the age of 12, after his older brother died. A frail child with a stammer, Charles nonetheless rose to the occasion as a young man and took the throne after his father died in 1625. During his reign he was constantly at odds with Parliament, for whom he had little use. In his first four years on the throne he dissolved three parliaments; for twelve years he ruled without them, until in 1640 he was forced to recall Parliament in order to secure funds to fight a rebellion in Scotland. Instead of giving him money, they gave him grief. The king's mismanagement of funds and religious differences fueled a mutual hostility that boiled over into civil war in 1642. The Parliament forces (called Roundheads) under Oliver Cromwell defeated the Royalists after more than three years of battles, and Charles was put under house arrest in 1646. He briefly escaped and tried to stir up more military support, but was captured again in 1648 and brought to trial before Parliament for being a tyrant and a traitor. A firm believer in the Divine Right of Kings, Charles did not recognize the body's authority and offered no defense. A tribunal voted 68 to 67 against him and he was beheaded on 30 January 1649.
Extra credit: Charles was married to Henrietta Maria of France, a Roman Catholic whose influence on the king was not welcomed by the increasingly Puritan populace... The king was High Anglican... He had four sons, two of whom eventually became king (Charles II and James II)... His last child, a daughter, was born just ten weeks after he was executed... He was an avid art collector.
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