The Tudor line ended with Queen Elizabeth I as the King of Scotland succeeded her as King James I of England.
His conception of the royal power was none the less elevated. He being highly educated, and considered himself the philosopher or theologian of absolute monarchy.
Since James protected Anglicanism, which enjoyed submission to the King’s will, Catholic conspirators placed barrels of gunpowder in the cellars of Westminster. The Gunpowder Plot was discovered, and all those who took part were executed. This enflamed public opinion against Rome, and anti-Catholic measures were put in place. More dangerous than the Catholics were extreme Protestants.
Although many early Puritans, as they came to be known, remained inside the Anglican Church, distinguished by their piety and simplicity of life, others had already begun to show extremes of sectarian fanaticism. The most determined among them asserted that nobody and nothing should stand between man and God.
While Puritanism gave its blessing to individual enterprises, the king sold monopolies to raise money, for he proved a poor housekeeper, and was continually in debt.
Money had to be obtained; Titles of nobility were sold, taxes placed on wood, wine and leather. He was at loggerheads with Parliament. When King James I died in 1625, the state of the Kingdom lay in tatters, the future of the ruling house unsettled, and the future of the Stuarts uncertain.
King James I: James I was born on the 19th June 1566 at Edinburgh Castle, to parents Mary Queen of Scots and Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley. On the 29th July 1567, crowned King James VI of Scotland, after his mother Mary Queen of Scots was forced to abdicate the throne in favour of her son. On the 24th July 1603, ascended to the English throne following the death of Queen Elizabeth I, and on the 25th July, crowned King James I of England.
James united the crowns of England and Scotland. In 1606, James created the Union Jack flag, consisting of the flag of St.Andrew, St.Partick for Ireland and the cross of St.George for England.
King Henry VIII had commissioned the Great Bible translation in 1535 and the Bishop’s Bible in 1568. These were replaced in 1611, by the King James Bible commissioned by James I, and still in use to this day.
James believed that King’s took their authority from God, but accepted his actions were subject to the laws of the land. He was often in dispute with Parliament, over royal finances, as his predecessors had been, before him and would be in the future.
King James I of England who also reigned as King James VI of Scotland died on the 27th March 1625 at Theobald’s Park and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
King Charles I: Charles I was born on the 19th November 1600, at Dunfermline Palace, Scotland to parents King James I (VI of Scotland) and Anne of Denmark.
On the 27th March 1625, his father King James I died, and he ascended to the English throne. On the 2nd February 1626, he was crowned King Charles I of England at Westminster Abbey.
His twenty-four year reign as England’s King, saw much conflict with the government, civil unrest by his people, civil war and his own execution on the 30th January 1649 in Whitehall.
An act of Parliament was passed, on the 30th January 1649, forbidding the automatic succession of his son. On the 7th February, the office of the King had been abolished.
On the 9th February 1649, he was buried in Henry VIII’s vault, in St.George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
Oliver Cromwell – Lord Protector: With the overthrow of the government and the execution of the King, power was passed to Oliver Cromwell, who became known as the “Lord Protector.”
Oliver Cromwell was born on the 25th April 1599 in Huntingdon to parents Robert Cromwell and Elizabeth Steward.
On the 18th May 1649, an Act was passed, which declared that England was a Commonwealth, governed by a council, appointed by Parliament.
On the 16th December, a reluctant Oliver Cromwell, becomes Lord Protector of England’s Commonwealth. In the eyes of the people, Cromwell was now King of England, in all but name.
Cromwell was nothing short of a puritanical religious zealot who became nothing short of a dictator. He was instrumental in the genocide of thousands of Scottish and Irish Catholics.
By the time of his death on the 3rd September 1658, the people of England, Scotland and Ireland were glad to be rid of him.
Richard Cromwell – Lord Protector: Without Oliver Cromwell, the head of England’s Republic, England’s Commonwealth, and the country gradually slipped into chaos, with his son Richard Cromwell as the new Lord Protector at its helm.
The Parliamentarians who had elected Oliver Cromwell to the post of Lord Protector, crossed swords with Richard Cromwell over his harsh treatment of the army and government. Just nine months later, Parliament ousted him.
Richard was placed under house arrest at Whitehall Palace. The remaining members of the old Rump Parliament were recalled, and on the 14th May the House of Commons formally destroyed Richards seal, as Lord Protector.
Parliament treated him with honour, paying off his debts, granting him a pension, upon his resignation as Lord Protector in 1659.
In the summer of 1660, Richard left his family and fled into exile on the continent until 1680, when he returned, living in Cheshunt, Herfordshire under the assumed name of John Clarke until his death in 1712.
King Charles II: King Charles II was born on the 29th May 1630, at St.James Palace to parents Charles I and Henrietta Maria. He ascended to the English throne on the 29th May 1660, by invitation from Parliament, and was crowned King Charles II of England, on the 23rd April 1661 at Westminster Abbey.
In 1664 English forces seized the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam, and renamed it; New York. In 1666 the forces of France and Denmark assisted the Dutch, and in 1667, Dutch forces laid siege to England, capturing the Royal Charles, England’s flagship and the sinking of three other ships on the River Medway. Peace talks commenced in the latter part of 1667.
In 1665, the plague (Black Death) struck England, and some 200,000 are known to have lost their lives in London. This was followed by the Great Fire of London in 1666, destroying 13,500 houses, 87 churches, and sixteen people lost their lives.
Sir Christopher Wren was commissioned to rebuild much of London, including St.Paul’s Cathedral.
On the 6th February 1685, King Charles II converted to Catholicism, a deathbed conversion, and died at Whitehall Palace, and buried at Westminster Abbey.
King James II: James II was born on the 14th October 1633 at St.James Palace to parents Charles I and Henrietta, and the last Catholic Monarch of England, to have secretly converted to Catholicism. He grew up in exile, first in Holland then in France, and served in the French and Spanish forces.
Following Cromwell’s death, and the restoration on the monarchy, when his brother had taken his rightful place as King of England, James returned to England, and was appointed by his brother; King Charles II as Lord High Admiral, and commanded the Royal Navy during the Anglo-Dutch conflict.
In 1673, Parliament not wanting a Catholic successor to the English throne passed the “Test Act” which excluded Catholics from political office.
In 1679, an Exclusion Bill was introduced into Parliament, adding James II, as a practising Catholic, to those excluded from holding political office… Parliament did not want a Catholic King… Charles responded by dissolving Parliament.
King Charles II died on the 6th February 1685, and James ascended to the English throne, and crowned King James II of England on the 23rd April at Westminster Abbey.
In 1688, James believed in his “Divine Right as King” and believed he had absolute power over his kingdom. He issued the “Declaration of Indulgence,” thus suspending all laws against Catholic’s. He went further still, by promoting Catholic supporters within Parliament.
His daughter Mary married William of Orange of the Netherlands. William of Orange, son-in-law to James II was invited to England by leading statesman to restore English liberties; Protestantism and Democracy.
William of Orange landed at Torbay on the 5th November 1688, in 463 ships with no opposition from the English Royal Navy. His army of 14,000 men grew to 20,000 men by the time they reached London.
James tossed the Great Seal of the Realm into the River Thames… he had abdicated his position as England’s King, and went into exile in France.
James II lived the rest of his life in exile, until he died on the 6th September 1701, at St.Germain-en-laye in France, and buried at the Chateau de Saint Germain-en-laye.
King William III and Queen Mary II: William Henry Stuart was born on the 14th November 1650 in the Hague, Netherlands to parents William II of Orange and Mary Stuart. Mary was born on the 30th April 1662 at St.James Palace, London to parents James II and Anne Hyde. William Henry Stuart (William III of Orange) married Mary II in 1677.
In 1689 Parliament declared to England, that King James II had abdicated his position as King of England. His daughter Mary and husband William of Orange were crowned; King William III and Queen Mary II of England, on the 11th April 1689 at Westminster Abbey.
After the joint Coronation at Westminster Abbey on the 11th April 1689, King William III and Queen Mary II became the only British monarchs to have joint sovereignty and equal powers. Their reign is probably best remembered for the 1658 Revolution, signing of the English Bill of Rights in 1689, and stamp duty in 1694, which saw the end of absolute monarchy and more power for Parliament. Their combined reign oversaw the beginning of the Scottish Jacobite Rebellion of 1689.
In 1689, a “Declaration of Rights,” had been drawn up by Parliament, thus limiting the monarch’s power, and control of legislation, and taxes came under Parliament.
Queen Mary II dies of smallpox in 1694, and was buried at Westminster Abbey. Mary’s untimely death left William bereft and he reigned alone for the next twelve years.
William forms alliances between England, Holland and Austria, preventing a union of French and Spanish crowns in 1701.
King William III dies on the 8th March 1702 at Kensington Palace, and is buried in Westminster Abbey.
Queen Anne: Anne Stuart was born on the 6th February 1665 at St.James Palace, London, to parents James II and Anne Hyde, and when King William III died on the 8th March 1702, Anne Stuart ascended to the English throne, and was crowned Queen Anne of England on the 23rd April 1702 at Westminster Abbey.
On the 1st May 1707, the “Act of Union” unites England and Scotland, with the seat of government for both countries, firmly set in London. From that day forth the two countries were known as Great Britain.
Queen Anne died on the 1st August 1714 at Kensington Palace, London and was buried at Westminster Abbey.