King Charles I
(November 11, 1600 – January 30, 1659)
Sir Anthony VanDyck,
Charles I: King of England at the Hunt, 1635
Musée du Louvre, Paris
Charles I was King of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1625-49), second son of King James VI of Scotland, later James I of England. Charles was crowned King following the death of his father on March 27, 1625, and soon after married the Catholic Henrietta Maria, sister of Louis XIII of France. He was influential in expanding England’s colonial possessions, serving as the first King over the royal colony of Virginia, and granting charters for Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, and the Carolinas. Maryland (Terra Mariae) was named in honor of his wife, the Queen. Charles, however, was less successful in handling domestic problems, and his long feud with Parliament erupted in the English Civil Wars (1642-49), during which he was beheaded. His son and heir, Charles II, would be recalled from exile and the monarchy restored in 1660, following an eleven-year reign by Oliver Cromwell and his radical Protestant colleagues.