Charles I: An Abbreviated Life (Penguin Monarchs)

Charles I: An Abbreviated Life (Penguin Monarchs)

Language: English

Pages: 144

ISBN: 0141979836

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The most despised monarch in Britain's historical memory

The tragedy of Charles I dominates one of the most strange and painful periods in British history as the whole island tore itself apart over a deadly, entangled series of religious and political disputes. In Mark Kishlansky's brilliant account it is never in doubt that Charles created his own catastrophe, but he was nonetheless opposed by men with far fewer scruples and less consistency who for often quite contradictory reasons conspired to destroy him. This is a remarkable portrait of one of the most talented, thoughtful, loyal, moral, artistically alert, and yet, somehow, disastrous of all of England's rulers.

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gift that ever any King of England had’, but then bottled the bill up in committee while they proceeded with the Petition of Right.20 The problem was that the lawyers in the Commons insisted that the king had no power to imprison by special command and the judges and the Lords insisted that he did. This was an essential part of the royal prerogative and the king had promised to accept any bill or petition that did not touch his prerogative. They were in a maze without an apparent exit. Charles

consent of the king. The most important of these gave Parliament power to raise and command troops and levy taxes for their support. The Earl of Essex was appointed parliamentary Lord General and put in charge of an army formed from the London trained bands. If Parliament controlled material resources, the king marshalled emotional ones. The culture of loyalty to the monarch was deeply engrained in England. Over time this would prove Charles’s greatest asset, one that could not be destroyed on a

optimism had given way to deep distrust of both the Spanish negotiators and his father’s ambassador. Having arrived with a heart brimming with love for his intended bride, he left with one filled with hate for her father’s government. The return of the bachelor-prince to England was met with celebration. Crowds cheered him as he made his way to Westminster and bonfires illuminated London. There was genuine relief for his safety but also exhilaration over the failure of the much-detested Spanish

Netherlands, consuming money and being consumed by disease. Nor could the king be persuaded to reverse course. James was now visibly deteriorating, physically weak and mentally unstable. At the end of a harsh winter, he took to his bed with shivering fits and a high fever. There he died on 27 March 1625. 2 Wars and Parliaments Charles was grief-stricken upon the news of his father’s death. He had loved James deeply and believed that love had been reciprocated: ‘From my infancy I was blessed

understand its source. In truth it arose from a combination of motives, not all of them compatible. Hatred of Buckingham by those who had crossed him and been punished by loss of influence and office spurred some to oppose the king; others were angered that the promises made in 1624 were not kept. Many of the lawyers in the House were still looking for ways to assert the institutional power of Parliament that had been successfully repelled by James. The accession of a new monarch was another

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