Charles I (1600-1649) has gone down in history for losing his head! The second son of James I, he became heir apparent when his older brother Henry died in 1612. In 1625 he became king when his father died.
Charles believed strongly in the divine right of kings - that God gave him absolute power to rule as he thought fit. Parliament thought otherwise, and were particularly unhappy when Charles insisted on raising taxes without Parliamentary consent. His marriage to Henrietta Maria, a French princess and Roman Catholic, was unpopular with the strict Protestant parliamentarians (Puritans and Calvinists) and many believed that he was a Roman Catholic sympathiser. King and Parliament quarreled often and more aggressively until, in 1624, the two sides went into battle and the English Civil War began.
After many battles, Charles I was defeated in 1645 and imprisoned on the Isle of Wight. The other side was led by Oliver Cromwell, who commanded a well-trained "New Model Army" and had firm control of England. Charles was tried and convicted, and - to the dismay of the royal supporters - eventually executed for high treason in January 1649. The monarchy was abolished and the Commonwealth of England was established, led by Oliver Cromwell.
King Charles I was apparently very brave as he went to his execution. He said goodbye to his children at St James' Palace and was then escorted to Whitehall, where he uttered these last words:
"I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible Crown, where no disturbance can be."
Here's a portrait-type colouring page of King Charles I, famous for losing his head to Oliver Cromwell and his Parliamentarians.
Our simpler King Charles I colouring page is great for younger children. Think of the rich, bright colours that he would have worn.
We've added a very ornate frame to our colouring portrait of King Charles I - fun for your "royal" display!
Here's a King Charles I poster to print and display. Useful for a timeline of kings and queens or perhaps a royal family tree.
Perhaps you could use our King Charles I story paper to describe Charles' elaborate Stuart dress? We have lined or handwriting versions available.
What would your children like to talk to Charles I about? They can record this and other information on our King Charles I worksheet.
King Charles I was king during the English Civil War and was eventually beheaded. Use our King Charles I writing page to record your research about this unfortunate king.