Britain’s New King Is Charles III. Who Were Charles I and II?

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King Charles III is the third British monarch to share the name.

The new King Charles III is the third British monarch to share the name, and those looking for omens will find two wildly different fates befalling his predecessors.

Here are the main events defining the lives and reigns of Charles I and his son Charles II.

Charles I

The only British monarch to be executed, Charles I’s reign led to a brutal civil war and the abolition of the royal family.

Charles, from the House of Stuart, took the throne in 1625, ruling over England, Scotland, and Ireland.

His belief in the divine right of kings, coupled with his Roman Catholic faith, gained him many enemies, with subjects and parliamentarians accusing him of being a tyrant.

Parliament constantly sought to curb his powers, putting it on a collision course with the monarchy that led to civil war breaking out in 1642.

Charles was defeated in 1645 but refused to give in to his captors’ demands for a constitutional monarchy and was tried, convicted, and executed for high treason in 1649.

Charles famously called for two shirts before being taken to the execution scaffold outside London’s Banqueting House, to prevent the cold weather causing him to shiver.

“The season is so sharp as probably may make me shake, which some observers may imagine proceeds from fear. I would have no such imputation,” he wrote.

After saying a prayer, Charles signalled to the masked executioner, whose identity is not known to this day, and was beheaded with one stroke.

Some onlookers dipped their handkerchiefs in his blood as a souvenir.

The monarchy was abolished and England became a republic with Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector.

Charles II

The man who would become King Charles II joined his father in battle during the Civil War, but left England as it became clear that defeat was inevitable and moved to The Hague in 1649.

Despite the abolition of the monarchy in England following his father’s execution, Charles was crowned King of Scotland on January 1, 1651.

Fearing an invasion from the English republican forces under Cromwell from the south, Charles and his supporters launched an invasion of England.

It ended in defeat at the Battle of Worcester, in west central England, and Charles famously dodged capture by hiding in an oak tree.

He managed to evade the authorities for six weeks and escaped to France.

Cromwell died in 1658, triggering civil and military unrest that eventually resulted in Charles being asked to return as king in 1660.

The imposing monarch, instantly recognisable in paintings by his voluminous black curls and dashing moustache, rolled back many of the country’s puritanical rules and gained a reputation as a lovable rogue.

He was “witty and kind, grateful, generous, tolerant, and essentially lovable,” wrote historian Antonia Fraser.

His reign saw the rise of colonisation and trade in India, the East Indies and America. He also had to deal with two profound crises, the Black Death Plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of London a year later.

Charles suffered a fit on February 2, 1685 and died aged 54 four days later despite, or due to, a series of treatments including bloodletting, purging and cupping.

He was buried in Westminster Abbey on February 14 and was succeeded by his brother, who became James II of England and Ireland and James VII of Scotland.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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