Saturday, April 17, 2010

K. James I. Engraving by Vertue. [n.p. & n.d.]

At twenty, his father determined that it was time for Charles to marry. His sister, Elizabeth, had married a Protestant to cement England’s ties to Protestant Europe. It was Charles’s duty to marry a Catholic to strengthen the kingdom’s Catholic connections. Anti-Catholic and anti-Spanish sentiments were strong in the country, but James persisted. When negotiations broke down with Spain, James turned to France.

France followed a similar foreign policy in central Europe, and France’s king, Henri de Navarre, was a former Protestant with an available daughter, Henrietta Maria. The English Parliament was not pleased. When James I died, Charles’s decision to carry out his father’s wishes was a lost opportunity to appease Parliament and the Protestants. Instead Charles, ever dutiful, brought his father’s negotiations to fruition and married her. The public called her “The Popish Brat” – she was just fifteen. However, Charles was enchanted upon his first sight of her. Never a taint of scandal touched their relationship. Their marriage was one of complete devotion to each other and to their seven surviving children.

LC27 1.1

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