Accession, Archduke Charles II of Inner Austria, Charles I of England, Henrietta Marie de Bourbon of France, Infanta Maria Anna of Spain, King Henri IV of France and Navarre, King James VI of Scotland, Maria-Anna of Bavaria, Marie de' Medici
From the Emperor’s Desk: for some reason I am unable to post with pictures. I am looking into it and hopefully pictures will be back soon!
Charles I (November 1, 1600 – January 1649) was King of England, Scotland, and Ireland from March 27, 1625 until his execution in 1649. He was born into the House of Stuart as the second son of King James VI of Scotland, but after his father inherited the English throne in 1603, he moved to England, where he spent much of the rest of his life.
He became heir apparent to the kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland in 1612 upon the death of his elder brother, Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales. An unsuccessful and unpopular attempt to marry Charles to the Spanish Habsburg Infanta Maria Anna culminated in an eight-month visit to Spain in 1623 that demonstrated the futility of the marriage negotiation.
Maria Anna was born an Infanta of Spain and an Archduchess of Austria as the daughter of King Felipe III of Spain and Portugal and Archduchess Margaret of Austria, herself a daughter of Archduke Charles II of Inner Austria and Maria Anna of Bavaria.
The proposal with the Spanish princess Maria Anna fell through when King Felipe IV of Spain and Portugal demanded Charles convert to the Catholic Church and live in Spain for a year as pre-conditions for the marriage. As King Felipe IV was aware, such terms were unacceptable, and when Charles returned to England in October, he and Buckingham demanded King James declare war on Spain.
Two years later, he married the Bourbon princess Henrietta Maria de Bourbon of France.
Henrietta Maria de Bourbon of France, the youngest daughter of King Henri IV of France (Henri III of Navarre) and his second wife, Marie de’ Medici; met her future husband in 1623 at a court entertainment in Paris, when he was on his way to Spain with the Duke of Buckingham to discuss the possible marriage with Infanta Maria Anna of Spain.
Searching elsewhere for a bride, Charles sent his close friend Henry Rich, 1st Earl of Holland, to Paris in 1624. A Francophile and godson of Henri IV of France, Holland strongly favoured a marriage with Henrietta Maria, the terms of which were negotiated by James Hay, 1st Earl of Carlisle.
Henrietta Maria was aged fifteen at the time of her marriage, which was not unusual for royal princesses of the period. Opinions on her appearance vary; her niece Sophia of Hanover commented that the “beautiful portraits of Van Dyck had given me such a fine idea of all the ladies of England that I was surprised to see that the queen, who I had seen as so beautiful and lean, was a woman well past her prime.
King James I-VI died on March 26, 1625 and Charles succeeded as King of England, Scotland and Ireland.
A proxy marriage was held at Notre-Dame de Paris on May 1, 1625 where Duke Claude of Chevreuse stood as proxy for King Charles, with the couple spending their first night together at St Augustine’s Abbey near Canterbury on 13 June 1625. As a Roman Catholic, Henrietta Maria was unable to participate in the Church of England ceremony on February 2, 1626 when Charles was crowned in Westminster Abbey.
After his succession in 1625, Charles quarrelled with the English Parliament, which sought to curb his royal prerogative. He believed in the divine right of kings, and was determined to govern according to his own conscience. Many of his subjects opposed his policies, in particular the levying of taxes without parliamentary consent, and perceived his actions as those of a tyrannical absolute monarch.
Charles’ religious policies, coupled with his marriage to a Roman Catholic, generated antipathy and mistrust from Reformed religious groups such as the English Puritans and Scottish Covenanters, who thought his views too Catholic. He supported high church Anglican ecclesiastics and failed to aid continental Protestant forces successfully during the Thirty Years‘ War.
His attempts to force the Church of Scotland to adopt high Anglican practices led to the Bishops’ Wars, strengthened the position of the English and Scottish parliaments, and helped precipitate his own downfall.