Charles I (19 November 1600 – 30 January 1649) was King of England, King of Scotland and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution.
Charles struggled for power with the Parliament of England. He firmly believed in the divine right of kings an ancient belief that a king is accountable only to God, an idea he had learned from his father King James I, and many in England feared that he was attempting to gain absolute power at the expense of Parliament. After much conflict and the dismissal of five knights over the issue of the "forced loan", the 1628 Petition of Right was adopted by Parliament. After the adoption of the Petition of Right, Charles dissolved parliament and ruled by decree for eleven years, a time period known as the Eleven Years Tyranny.
Religious conflicts were a notable feature of Charles' reign. He married a Catholic princess, Henrietta Maria of France, over the objections of Parliament and public opinion. Many of Charles' subjects felt that he brought the Church of England too close to Roman Catholicism, despite the fact that Charles was himself committed to Anglicanism. Charles' later attempts to force religious reforms upon Scotland, including a new Book of Prayer, led to the Bishops' Wars that weakened England's government and led to his downfall. In 1641, Charles was presented with the Grand Remonstrance, a list of over 200 grievances that the people had suffered under.
His last years were marked by the English Civil War, in which he was opposed by the forces of Parliament and by Puritans, who were hostile to his religious policies and alleged Catholic sympathy. Charles was defeated in the first Civil War (1642 - 1645), after which Parliament expected him to accept demands for a constitutional monarchy. He instead remained defiant by attempting to forge an alliance with Scotland and escaping to the Isle of Man. This provoked a second Civil War (1648 - 1649) and a second defeat for Charles, who was tried and then executed in London for high treason. The monarchy was then abolished and a republic called the Commonwealth of England was declared. Charles's son, Charles II, became King after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660.
King Charles I was canonized by the Anglican Communion as Saint King Charles, the Martyr, his Feast Day is 30 January.
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