It was a cool January day when Charles I died. Charles’ father was James I, the king of Scotland who inherited the English throne when his distant cousin, Queen Elizabeth I died without an heir. James was not popular and neither was his son. Charles believed in the divine right of kings, meaning he thought his power came from God and everyone should obey him.
|Charles I of England|
It surprised Charles that so many Englishmen believed in the Magna Carta and disagreed with his idea of divine right. Tensions rose between Royalists, Charles’ supporters, and Parliamentarians, his enemies led by Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell waged war until Charles was imprisoned. In 1649, Charles was led to the scaffold across Whitehall Palace in London and decapitated. It was the first and last regicide the English people ever committed against their own monarch.
|Oliver Cromwell of England|
So if the people renounced it, why does England have a monarchy today? After King Charles' execution, the English realized Cromwell had strident Puritan beliefs and high taxes. He became unpopular just like Charles, the king he had beheaded. When he died on September 3, 1658, the Commonwealth did not long survive him. The army, which Cromwell did not always have the funds to pay, invited Charles II, son of the beheaded monarch, to take control. The only catch was a few more restrictions on the royal power and a bit more power for Parliament and the people. Charles accepted, which became the "English Restoration" of the crown. Charles II, called the “Merry Monarch” due to his love of art and festivities, was popular throughout his reign and is still well remembered.
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