On January 4, 1642, under the orders of King Charles I, armed soldiers entered Parliament and the English Civil War started shortly afterwards. Charles I was king of England from 1625 until his execution in 1649. He engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England. Many of his English subjects opposed his actions, in particular his interference in the English and Scottish churches and the levying of taxes without parliamentary consent, because they saw them as those of a tyrannical absolute monarchy. Charles's 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 overrule and negate parliamentary authority, while simultaneously using his position as head of the English Church to pursue religious policies which generated the antipathy of reformed groups such as the Puritans. 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 escaped. This provoked the Second Civil War (1648–49) and a second defeat for Charles, who was subsequently captured, tried, convicted. He was beheaded at Whitehall Palace on January 30, 1649 for high treason and buried at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle in the same vault as Henry VIII. The monarchy was then abolished and a republic called the Commonwealth was declared. Charles's son, Charles II, who dated his accession to the throne from the death of his father, did not take up the reins of government until 1660.
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of Great Britain’s Royal Tombs: A Guide to the Lives and Burial Places of British Monarchs. The book can be purchased from Amazon or Barnes and Noble through the following links:
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