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Charles I as a child, son of James I, grandson of Mary, Queen of Scots

Charles I, (19 November 1600 – 30 January 1649), the second son of James VI and I, was King of England, Scotland and Ireland from 27 March, 1625 until his regicide.[1] Charles famously engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England. He was an advocate of the Divine Right of Kings,[2] which was the belief that kings received their power from God and thus could not be deposed (unlike the similar Mandate of Heaven). Many of his English subjects feared that he was attempting to gain absolute power. Many of his actions, particularly the levying of taxes without Parliament's consent, caused widespread opposition.[3]

 

Religious conflicts permeated Charles' reign. He married a Catholic princess, Henrietta Maria of France, over the objections of Parliament and public opinion.[4][5] He further allied himself with controversial religious figures, including the ecclesiastic Richard Montagu and William Laud, whom Charles appointed Archbishop of Canterbury. Many of Charles's subjects felt this brought the Church of England too close to Roman Catholicism. Charles's later attempts to force religious reforms upon Scotland led to the Bishops' Wars that weakened England's government and helped precipitate his downfall.

 

His last years were marked by the English Civil War, in which he fought the forces of the English and Scottish Parliaments, which challenged his attempts to augment his own power, and the Puritans, who were hostile to his religious policies and supposed Catholic sympathies. Charles was defeated in the First Civil War (1642–45), after which Parliament expected him to accept its demands for a constitutional monarchy. He instead remained defiant by attempting to forge an alliance with Scotland and escaping to the Isle of Wight. This provoked the Second Civil War (1648–49) and a second defeat for Charles, who was subsequently captured, tried, convicted, and executed for high treason. The monarchy was then abolished and a republic called the Commonwealth of England, also referred to as the Cromwellian Interregnum, was declared. Charles's son, Charles II, became king after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660.[3] In that same year, Charles I was canonized by the Church of England.[6]

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Taken on August 12, 2009