King Charles I ascended to the thrones of England in 1625 upon the death of his father, King James I. He married Henrietta Maria of France, a Roman Catholic from the House of Bourbon, three months later. His reign was marked by internal strife, civil war and the 1649 abolishment of the British monarchy, which lasted until his son was crowned King Charles II in 1659.
Divine Right of Kings
Kind Charles I was an Anglican and an ardent believer in the divine right of kings. His insistence on high church liturgy for the Church of England, combined with his marriage to a Catholic at the height of the Protestant Reformation in England, led to civil unrest among Puritans and Separatists who felt that the Church of England had not departed far enough from Catholic teachings and practices. This led to problems with Parliament, which Charles disbanded three times between 1625 and 1629.
An Incorruptible Crown
Religious and financial tensions between King Charles I and Parliament eventually led to the start of the English Civil War of 1642. Charles I surrendered to the Scots – who had allied themselves with Parliament – in May 1646. The Scots imprisoned Charles. The king escaped and led a second civil war in an attempt to regain power, leading to his capture by Scottish Puritan Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell, who was later named Lord Protector upon the abolishment of the monarchy, had Charles executed for treason. Charles' last words were, "I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown, where no disturbance can be."
- Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images