Charles I belonged to the House of Stuart. Born in 1600, he ascended to the throne in 1625 and died in 1649. He was preceded as monarch by James I and was succeeded, after the Protectorship of Cromwell, by Charles II.
Charles was born at Dunfermline, the second son of James I and Anne of Denmark. Weak and reticent as a child, he developed into an excellent scholar and horseman. Created Prince of Wales in 1616, four years after the death of his elder brother Henry.
He went to Madrid in 1623 to gain the hand of the Spanish Infanta. While the English people were gladdened by his failure, having broken an engagement to the Spanish infanta, he soon dashed their Protestant hopes by marrying a Roman Catholic French princess. The French insisted on a commitment to remove all disabilities upon Roman Catholic subjects. Charles's lack of scruple was shown by the fact that this commitment was secretly added to the marriage treaty, despite his promise to Parliament.
Succeeding his father in 1625, he was soon at odds with Parliament. For 11 years, Charles ruled without one. Recalling Parliament in 1640, his attitude led to Civil War. He lost the disastrous Battle of Naseby in 1645, surrendered in 1646, and was executed at Whitehall in 1649.