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Today I will begin a series on the life of King Charles I of England. In the coming weeks I will include entries on his marriage his accession to the throne, his reign and the English Civil War, culminating in his trial which I will cover on its anniversary this January.

Charles I of England was the second son of King James VI of Scotland and Anne of Denmark, Charles was born in Dunfermline Palace, Fife, on November 19, 1600. At a Protestant ceremony in the Chapel Royal of Holyrood Palace in Edinburghon 23 December 1600, he was baptised by David Lindsay, Bishop of Ross, and created Duke of Albany, the traditional title of the second son of the King of Scotland, with the subsidiary titles of Marquess of Ormond, Earl of Ross and Lord Ardmannoch.


James VI was the first cousin twice removed of Queen Elizabeth I of England, and when she died childless in March 1603, he became King of England as James I. Charles was a weak and sickly infant, and while his parents and older siblings left for England in April and early June that year, due to his fragile health, he remained in Scotland with his father’s friend Lord Fyvie, appointed as his guardian.

In January 1605, Charles was created Duke of York, as is customary in the case of the English sovereign’s second son, and made a Knight of the Bat. Thomas Murray, a presbyterian Scot, was appointed as a tutor. Charles learnt the usual subjects of classics, languages, mathematics and religion. In 1611, he was made a Knight of the Garter.


Eventually, Charles apparently conquered his physical infirmity, which might have been caused by rickets. He became an adept horseman and marksman, and took up fencing Even so, his public profile remained low in contrast to that of his physically stronger and taller elder brother, Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, whom Charles adored and attempted to emulate.

However, in early November 1612, Henry died at the age of 18 of what is suspected to have been typhoid (or possibly porphyria) Charles, who turned 12 two weeks later, became heir apparent. As the eldest surviving son of the sovereign, Charles automatically gained several titles (including Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay). Four years later, in November 1616, he was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester.