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Charles I

King Charles I, painted in 1631 Charles I (1625–1649) came to the throne as king of England, Scotland and Ireland. Rebellions against his religious policies broke out in Scotland in 1639 and Ireland in 1641. In England, Charles’s disagreements with Parliament over the right to levy taxes and his refusal to consult Parliament led to war in 1642 after Charles tried to arrest five MPs. In England, the Civil War was fought between the Cavalier supporters of the king and the Parliamentarians, known as Roundheads. By 1649, the English Parliament forces, including the New Model Army under the command of Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658), had defeated Charles in a series of battles, most notably Naseby in 1645. Charles, however, refused to negotiate with Parliament to end the war. In January 1649, Parliament tried and executed Charles for waging war against his own country.


Charles at the age of 10

Early life

The second son of King James VI of Scotland and Anne of Denmark, Charles was born in Dunfermline Palace in 1600. He was a sickly child, and so when his parents and family left for England to take up the throne in 1603, Charles remained in Scotland. The following year, however, Charles was considered strong enough. He left Dunfermline for England where he would spend the rest of his life. Barely able to walk—he may have been suffering from rickets, a disease that causes weakness in the bones and muscles—he later became a skilled horseman and took up fencing. In 1612, his elder brother Henry died, meaning that Charles became heir to the throne. By 1624, with his father in poor health, Charles was already serving as the acting monarch.

When Charles was four year old, he was made to walk the length of the great hall at Dunfermline Palace as a test of whether he was strong enough to make the journey to England.

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