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But I just still to this day, don't really know what we did. I guess we had to. I thought we had to prepare things, but to use books and like have dossiers with us. I got a question for you. You can find out the answer in the break that comes in this podcast. But this is one that you can try and look up using your Vodafone Unlimited data. I'd Professor Bartlett on the podcast the other day, and he's identified 27 female monarchs in medieval Europe, 27 queen pregnant women actually ruled in their own right in medieval Europe, but none of them were from Ireland.
None of them appear in the list of high kings or any of the other kings, I guess. Why find out during the break? The other day, I drove from Cork to Dublin, right. And on the fly, using my Vodafone Unlimited data, I was able to plot this itinerary. We checked out these amazing castles, would it? Kahir Castle. We checked out the Rock of Cashel. I mean, that place is unbelievable. And then we went to Dunhams and then my family went completely mad and didn't let me stop anywhere else.
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Welcome to Dance Knows. History hit.
Thank you to the 422 million of you who pointed out that when I was getting excited about the twenty five anniversary of the Battle of Thermopylae, it wasn't in the 2013 story because the year zero isn't a year or so. In fact, it's the two thousand four hundred and ninety ninth anniversary of the Battle of Thermopylae. So that's great. So I'm not. Redesign t shirts, push back the party, take myself back to school, anyway, it's a remarkable event.
It's worth commemorating, even if it's not exactly a big round number, as is the subject of this podcast. This is one of the podcasts. We reach back into the archive. We reach back and we bring out some of the gems and we decide to bring you Leander Delisle. She's a historian. She's written about King Charles, the first with a robust discussion about whether King Charles first was a total Muppet. He raised his standard on the 22nd of August, 16, 42 at Nottingham.
It said on it render unto Caesar. It's a pretty bold play, given his opponents accuse them of behaving in a kind of generally dictatorial way. It is unravelling big banner with the word seizure on it. It doesn't give you a kind of offenders anywhere to go, it's like when Trump comes out in public and says he's trying to stop people voting because he'll lose if everyone gets to vote. Similar to that, really. Anyway, this is a discussion about Charles the first enjoy.
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I think Charles first was the most useless, incompetent man.
I should not be getting slightly specific. He was pretty rubbish king. And you're about to tell me he was great on you.
I'm not going to say he was great, but I'm going to say, look, there were ups and downs. I mean, people remember people remember the end. They remember that he was executed at the hands of his own subjects. And this is just read back across his whole life as if he was doomed from birth. And that just wasn't the case.
I mean, things might have been so very different if the battle of Edgehill had gone a bit differently. We'll get on fantastic. Like, OK, so OK. So finally, you're saying he's been hard done by.
Let's talk about his his father wasn't easy and he wasn't the oldest son, was he?
No, no. He had an older brother. And you do hear a lot about the Marvis older brother. If only he had lived. But the fact is he died at 18, just old enough to have raised great hopes without living so long enough as they've had the chance to disappoint them. That's the point. And also the kind of people who had lots of nice things to say about Henry was the name of his older brother.
They were the heirs to other people who had said all these lovely things about Elizabeth, the first to use it as a stick to beat King James with, but actually during Elizabeth's lifetime, hadn't been that loyal to her.
So in short, it all boils.
OK, well, that's Cantlay James, the first probably difficult father. Heavy drinking, opinionated, possibly gay. Yes.
Yes. I think I think Charles did find it a bit tricky in his early teens when his mother was still living and his father was clearly in love with the Duke of Buckingham or the later Duke of Buckingham. Yes, I think he did find that bit embarrassing. But, you know, he could have been a lot worse. I mean, I think Charles enjoyed the kind of family love his father had never known. I mean, his father had never known his own father.
His own father had been murdered. James, age five, had seen his grandfather die. No, Charles had a relatively easy, easy childhood. And and James was a relatively loving father for a monarch. Okay.
How old was Charles when he ascended to the throne? 24. So young still.
And to be fair to these feckless Stewartstown, I'm being so worried about it.
But to be fair to them, the English monarchy was in a dire position in the 20s, wasn't it? Well, it was broke.
And, you know, The Tudors, that that was partly the consequence of the way the Tudors had ruled. I mean, they had sold a lot of land. They'd spent a lot of money. They had left a lot of debts. And James was by nature, extravagant and those debts had accumulated. So when Charles came to the throne, he had a lot of debts. He was keen to take Britain into war in Europe in support of the Protestant cause and his sister and the winter queen who had lost, you know, the crown of Bohemia with her husband.
And there was really no money to pay for it. So that was tricky.
But was he king because is he not accused of being insufficiently zealous in sort of pursuing Protestant blue water policies like like sort of Elizabeth the first is supposed to have done?
Yes, well, yes. And no different stages of people sort of switched tack on this because, of course, he did actually take as I said, he took Britain into the Thirty Years War as soon as he became king. But he then found parliament weren't actually prepared to pay for this war. And so he then made peace. And then there was a lot of sort of people sitting around whining that he wasn't fighting the Hapsburgs after all. So, you know, he couldn't win really either way.
And what about that? So you've already highlighted, of course, this the central theme, perhaps, of his reign, which is his relationship with his parliament. I mean, was that always tricky right from the start? Was there a kind of inability to accept his position in relation to parliament?
Yes, I think that he understood that parliament was extremely useful. And it's a good thing for kings to get on with parliaments. But two things. I think Charles, like his father, didn't really understand the importance of parliament in English culture. I think it was part of it. And also, he didn't have a good instinct for dealing with people, particularly for opponents he wasn't good at. So divide and rule, he tended to lump all his enemies together.
He just wasn't good at reading people. Generally, he didn't have that instinct. And that made him slightly insecure, which was unhelpful in his dealings with Parliament. Amongst other things.
Did he have friends and allies within the British ruling class or was he was quite isolated? No, he did definitely have friends and friends and allies.
And and as things became increasingly bitter before the Civil War, I mean, the whole point is it was a civil war. There were two sides to it. So, yes, he had supporters. And as the war went on, many of the people who had begun by supporting parliament and I put parliament in inverted commas because it was only always a section of parliament. Then in time, many who I said who started fighting for parliament moved to his side as parliament became increasingly radical.
OK, so let's talk about the decline. His relationships with parliament, as you say, they got off to a rocky start. They fell out of spending on war, which seems to be very common in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Did things go? Downhill from there. Was there ever an attempt to patch it up with Parliament? Yes, there were attempts, but unfortunately, for one reason or another, they all went pear shaped. I think there was just great mistrust on both sides.
And part of this was to do with religion. The Church of England was essentially a Calvinist church, but with a Catholic structure. Charles thought this made it the the Church of England, the best in the world. But but others disagreed and they felt it was just half reformed and mingle, a dangerous mingle mangle of popish government and pure religion. And they were appalled when they saw Charles reforming the Church of England on more ritualistic ceremonial lines. They felt it was a threat to the Calvinist credentials of the Church of England.
And that was a sort of massive falling out by that was England and of course, Scotland and Ireland. Was it almost ungovernable in the 17th century? I mean, even if, you know, the amazing Elizabeth the first have been there, I mean, would she have struggled to deal with the complexity of what and and the lack of cash the English monarchy had in that period?
Yes, I think and the Tudors would also have struggled, but they did two things which Charles didn't really want, was they to each to each of the Tudor monarchs from Henry, the eighth introduced dramatic and very unpopular a religious change.
But they all used parliament to give their actions legal force on the one hand. And the other thing is, is they cut the testicles, heads and various other body parts of their enemies. And that was something Charles didn't do during his so-called 11 years tyranny, which was the 11 years he ruled that parliament, there were no political or religious executions. He would cut the ears of Puritan dissenters, but they kept their testicles on their heads, which are two of the most important bits.
Yes. So you're saying Charles was too soft on the opposition?
Well, certainly many royalists said later that they essentially said the 11 year tyranny hadn't been nearly tyrannical enough. And that was the great problem.
So was Charles neither collegiate enough to the parliament nor tyrannical enough to rule by himself?
I think that's I think that's I think there's an element of truth in that. Yes.
OK, so let's go back.
So so he tries to our parliament and taught me how do we enter this 11 years tyranny bit well, sort of accumulation of hideous disasters, that there are military failures in Europe. There are sections of parliament who are desperate to get rid of his leading minister, the Duke of Buckingham, Charles Resistless. Buckingham is assassinated. This is an opportunity then to possibly rebuild trust between King and parliament. But in fact, just there's just a sort of further deterioration in trust between the two sides, partly because Charles is religious reforms continue and it ends up with a sort of virtual riot one day on the sort of floor of the House of Commons.
And Charles then decides to dissolve parliament and he decides that it's been taken over by radical elements and he's going to rule without it for as long as he can.
But Charles wasn't just a passive victim, and it must have been something about Charles. We talk about divine right monarchy. I mean, Charles, was Charles instinctively unable to understand that rule involved compromise with these nasty people in parliament?
No, I think he did understand that it involved compromise and he was willing to compromise. But I think that he did lack confidence in a way he couldn't read. He was a highly intelligent man, but he was one of those people who can't read people. Well, he didn't have an instinct for that. So as I said, you tend to lump his enemies together rather than being able to have the confidence to divide and rule and to know when he could afford to back down, when he needed to make a stand, who he needed to, you know, eliminate, who he needed to make friends with.
However briefly, he didn't have those sort of natural political instincts or human instincts.
Even so, now we've entered a period of rule without parliament. How is he able to keep the government running? Where's his money coming from?
Oh, well, actually, he does rather well. He makes peace because he can't afford wars in Europe anymore. So he makes peace and he begins to rebuild royal finances. He raises taxes without parliamentary consent, a prerogative of taxes, which he which are those taxes which he's permitted to raise about parliament, but they're vastly increased and expanded. So, for example, you have ship money, which used to be raised on coastal ports in time of war.
He now brings these taxes inland in time of peace, but raises an enormous amount of money. The judges back him. He starts building a huge navy because he forces that naval power is going to be, you know, the source of Britain's future greatness. So he's not just spending it on silk stockings. He's he is doing something purposeful with it. And in his church reforms, too, although they are also opposed just as his taxes are opposed.
Many people like it. Many people like his church reforms. A lot of his opponents are old men dying off middle aged. He's by now got a brood of children. To succeed him, I mean, it was possible that things, you know, we're going to go quite well, that he could have been a kind of Louie the 14th as a British Louie the 14th.
And that's a good paradox. He did sort of see himself in that mold, even though he wasn't alive.
Yes, he did, absolutely. But unfortunately, he overextended himself. He decided he wanted uniformity of religion, which his father had achieved across the three kingdoms. And he begins looking at Scotland, brings in this Anglicize prayerbook to impose on the Scots and Scots get very annoyed.
And whereas English school children are always taught this was a war between King and parliament, of course, the war was started because of the complexity involved in ruling these three kingdoms simultaneously, but which were distinct and yet joined by the personal union of the crown.
Yes. Which of course, the Tudors didn't have to deal with. Yes, absolutely. So you had Scotland to deal with. And when he tried to impose the book there, it triggered a riot. And again, his supporters later said what he should have done, he should have rounded up the ringleaders to the riot and had them executed. But he didn't. And this emboldened his enemies, who then decided they didn't just not want this book. They also wanted to abolish episcopacy.
That's just government by bishops in Scotland and, you know, ended up with an invasion by his opponents.
And his detractors in history have sort of drawn a link between his his fondness for extra parliamentary taxation and his religious ideas about the importance of so kings and bishops as these as these central figures at the very top of these hierarchy, these very fixed hierarchies. I mean, do you see those parallels? Yes.
Ah, he saw them. His father saw them that that belief in hierarchy, a deferential society. But this wasn't about sort of simple sort of megalomania, wasn't sort of Charles or James thinking, you know, I want to wander around a sort of crown on my head thinking I'm marvellous, 24 seven or whatever.
The point of divine right kingship is, is that it was it was an argument against religious justifications for violence after the Reformation. Obviously, you had Catholics, Protestants, you had all sorts of different kinds of Protestants as well. And then you started to have arguments begun in Britain, in fact, that monarchs drew their authority from the people and therefore the people had the right to overthrow any who are of the wrong religion. Then you have. Well, who are the people and why the people?
Are you the people? Are we going to agree on everything? And I think not. And what is the right religion?
And you had a sort of free for all basically of people saying, right, well, now we're going to rebel because we don't like this king or we're going to blow him up with gunpowder or we're going to stab him like they stabbed or yukata in France or we're going to shoot him, you know, and so forth. And James argued against us with the divine right of kings saying no kings draw their authority from God and only God has it right to overthrow monarch.
So divine right monarchy was a bulwark against anarchy. Exactly.
Because instability and religious violence, religious justifications for violence, which is something we should understand now, doesn't seem so. Lupino It didn't seem so loopy in the 60-40. I didn't seem to you then.
I said, that's very true. And in a way, you know, it is a kind of arrogance, really. We look back in the past, we think, oh, those people there must have been so stupid and know believe in these idiotic things, know they weren't idiotic. There were reasons for them. They were products of their time and place.
OK, so the Scottish his Scottish subjects are rebelling against Charles because of his religious reforms. Yes.
Why does that lead to what is now regarded as per capita, the bloodiest war in the history of the British Isles?
Well, that's a good question.
Well, the Scots had allies and England members of the nobility, like Robert Rich, Earl of Warwick, who was the greatest privateering pair of his of his day, and his ally, John Pym in the House of Commons. And these men had formed a secret, treasonous alliance with the Scots. So when Charles was forced to call what became known as the long parliament to raise the taxes, to buy off the Scots, to get them out of England after that invaded.
So you've got a Scottish invading army. And Charles is Charles's attachment to peace without parliament of collapses because he's got to have money for exactly the one thing he can't afford.
You cannot afford wars. You cannot afford to fight with our parliament.
And so now he has to call parliament, but he's the opposition now, particularly extreme end of it, are no longer willing just to get from Charles guarantees that the parliament will be recalled or that, you know, the guarantees as they would see it for the Calvinist credentials of the Church of England. They want more than that because they are fearful. They need to take away from Charles any power that might allow him to revenge himself on them in the future and to essentially execute them for their treason.
So what you then have is they need to push through radical legislation to push through this radical legislation, they have to persuade a lot of people who are more conservative than they are both in the country and in parliament to back them. And to do this, they raise the political temperature and they do this in the way that demagogues have always done, really does raise a sense of national threat. You know, we're under attack. Catholics about to kill us all in our beds.
A rebellion broke out in Ireland, atrocities. You get these atrocity stories repeated and greatly inflated. The queen is blamed as the sort of papist in chief. She started this rebellion.
And also she's foreign, which is foreign. She's got she's French.
I mean, you could hardly be worse. So they sort of send soldiers into Catholic homes and they are about three Catholics in England, but into Catholic homes to search for weapons. 80 year old Catholic priests are being hung, drawn and quartered again, suddenly all ready to sort of raise this, you know, raise ethnic and religious tensions and a sense of threat.
But why this assault on the king's prerogatives, which just just the what was was there something in the in the water in the 17th century or in culturally that was happening? Or was it Charles himself or did his enemies just fear that their heads chopped off and just cooked up this whole idea of reducing the ability of the king to punish them?
Well, there are two different parts to that. Yes, there have been something in the water for a long time. When Elizabeth when Elizabeth I mean, it really goes back to when Elizabeth became queen English. Protestants did not think that women should rule. They felt they were biblical things against against female rule. So how do you how do you justify the fact they have a queen? And so they argued, for example, that the sovereignty didn't really reside in the person of the monarch.
It resided in in in the crown, in parliament, for example. So there was well, it was all part and parcel of the same thing. So, yes, these things had been in the water for for a long time.
But then this sort of key time and sort of 60, 41, you do have more radical change happening, but partly as possible, because there had been a real serious danger to parliament from Charles, because if he can raise his own taxes, if he can support himself of that parliament, it was very possible there would be no parliament. And in France, the last parliament had been called in 16, 14. It had been awkward about taxes and it wouldn't be recalled until later in the 18th century, sort of French Revolution.
So parliament faced an existential threat as well. It did. It did. Yes, it did. Absolutely.
And was I it's this. But this is the great what if a British history. But do you think Charles could have done away? I mean, what was before the Scots invaded England, the covenant, it was unpopular. The fact he in call parliament, I mean, how unpopular would it forced him to change that unpopular, eventually forced him to change direction and call parliament?
Do you think it might not have done? I think it's it's difficult to know because I think the English were extremely attached to parliament. But it's possible that, you know, the passage of time, people who have forgotten, I think if they were sort of comfortable they had money in their pockets, then who knows? Or, you know, Charles might have felt in due course or one of his sons might have felt they could afford to recall parliament and things could have got back on an even keel, because actually parliament did serve a very useful purpose when a king worked with parliament.
You know, he had the country with them, which was obviously extremely helpful. So it's actually much better.
One royal has said that no king in the Orient was as powerful as as an English monarch working with his parliament. You could do anything good for your credit rating, good for your credit rating, good for all sorts of ratings.
I mean, look at that. Look at the Tudors. Look what they did. I mean, as I said, they sort of went the dramatic religious change, all the dramatic changes they made. They they had parliament to help them do that.
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Sometimes we don't appreciate the list of things until they're taken away like a walk. Not for any reason, not to any destination. We will take back the streets where we live, where we love. In Italy, we call this Labasa data and we welcome the day when we walk again. Walk together with us a bit on Idalia Enjoyed the Rhône. This Trinka where Doddy so the question I posed at the start of this podcast was why in the whole of Europe are there Queens regnant during the medieval period, but not in Ireland?
And the answer Professor Bartlett gave me is because it was customary for Irish kings. Take many wives. So there was never a shortage of sons, whereas over in England, over in France and elsewhere, those those kings, they just had one wife. I mean, the old mistress, like Henry, the first and a lot of illegitimate children, but they were excluded from the line of succession is an island. Plenty of wives, plenty of sons, no shortage of male heirs.
Fascinating. You know what? Use your Vodafone unlimited data. Have a little Google. Prove me wrong. Send me a tweet. I'd love to know if there are any queens. Let your whole family follow their curiosity when you bring everyone's plans together on our multi mobile read family plan. Such Vodafone read family for more. But so parliament is agreeing to pay for to defend England from Scottish covenant's the army, but they're demanding all sorts of concessions from Charles.
Is this is the key moment really in Charles's career, and it's his failure to get through this crisis that leads ultimately to his death, doesn't it?
Yes, there is that there's a sort of terrible period over the winter of 16, 41 to two when he he puts out an order and some of the actual actual details of my head orders, all MPs to return to parliament because parliament is just as packed with sort of radical emperors.
And all those all those sort of slightly more moderate ones are all in the countryside because London is full of sort of mobs which have been raised by the more radical elements and been kept away. And so Charles wants the moderate MPs to come back essentially so he can then crush the radical opposition and all be fine and dandy, but it all goes pear shaped and all goes horribly wrong and before the 30 days are up. So they have to be back in London in 30 days.
After 28 days, he's driven out of London and doesn't return until his execution all goes horribly wrong.
Why is he driven out of London? This follows his attempt to arrest, you know, the members in the House of Commons. And, you know, they're not there. That's the whole birds have flown story.
He bursts into the House of Commons to arrest people as he does. He does. History hasn't been kind to him out that.
No, it hasn't. But, you know, he wasn't entirely wrong. I mean, they weren't you know, they were a number of them were traitors. So, you know, they were traitors. But, yes, unfortunately, he didn't succeed and just ended up making an arse of himself and ended up having to flee London.
So he flees London, which is a terrific strategic setback and raises the standard in Nottingham. Is it clear once he flees London that he's going to come back at the head of an army or try to?
Yes, although I think both sides pretend pretend it's all going to be fine. It'll all be sorted out somehow. But they both sort of behind the scenes are furiously sort of trying to. Henryetta Maria goes to Holland and acts as his chief diplomat, Charles's chief diplomat and arms buyer in Europe. And, you know, increasing over the following months, parliament and and royalists are sort of going around the villages of England, raising, raising man and looking for support.
It's something that's been the most remarkable period that. Do you think people were they talking? I mean, was was compromise still possible at that stage?
No, I don't think so. I suppose you never say never, but no, I don't think so. I think both sides were they they both sides believed as well they would all begin and end with one great battle as the old story, isn't it? You know, it'll all be over by Christmas. And it was it was one of those things. It'll all be over by, you know, it'll all be over by Christmas. And of course, it wasn't.
Yeah. The the sort of the cult of the decisive battle who's got soldiers in trouble throughout history.
What what was Charles unwilling to compromise on with what was the what was the fundamental sticking point, that early stage of just before the fighting started?
Well, one of the things he argued about was the militia that they parliament wanted. The right wants to take from him the right to raise the militia, because what they were supposedly doing is, as I said, they had this rebellion in Ireland faces.
So they needed the English needed to raise an army to deal with the rebellion, the Catholic rebellion and Ireland also who was going to be in charge of this army? Technically, it would be the king, but obviously the opposition didn't want the king in charge of this army. And so there was a big row about that. And Charles said it was a power he wouldn't even give to his wife and his children. So he was certainly wasn't going to give it to parliament, the right the right to to raise the militia.
That was really the sort of major sticking point at that particular time.
I mean, that's heady stuff, isn't it? Refusing to allow the king to command a lead, an army in a in a war.
I mean, it's the first duty of the sovereign, really, wasn't it? And so was there was there a kind of intellectual ferment where people did they realised how revolutionary they were being, or were they seizing on examples from 17th century Europe and thinking they were within that intellectual sort of mainstream?
I think many people did realise how radical it was. And again, that's why there was a civil war. I think many people were I mean, because they wanted to take away from him the rights to choose who his children married, all sorts of things.
Parliament began the radical elements in parliament. In a way, I hate calling them Polumbo because it was only ever a portion of parliament.
But for ease, we'll call it parliament. Yes. So people were aware that they were making very radical demands. But equally, those who supported Parliament would say that it was necessary that Charles himself was behaving radically by denying, by having been prepared to rule without parliament all these years, by raising. Says without parliamentary consent by his religious changes, so forth, and indeed he was he was radical. So you had two radical sides, but I always got the connection to you.
It is interesting because 30 years wars fought by Protestant, German, and it starts with Protestant German states and statelets trying to rejecting the authority of their Catholic Hapsburg overlord. Was this the time of the 17th century where this was becoming normalised in Europe, across Europe?
What religious war? No, the idea that it was you could throw off your, you know, divinely appointed overlord that had been doing that since essentially, as I think since the Reformation.
And that was that was the the need for the sort of divine right of kings. I mean, James, of course, had he and his mother had been overthrown in Scotland, a Catholic monarch overthrown by Protestants, he himself had faced problems in Scotland at the hands of hands of fellow Protestants. And he'd come to England. He'd faced the gunpowder plot at the hands of Catholics, you know, and and and so forth. I think the Thirty Years War had an enormous impact in Britain because English Protestants who, as I said, Calvinists saw themselves as a part of a wider Calvinist church.
I mean, people think of Henry Yates a reformation as being a kind of Brexit, but his form of sort of nationalist Catholicism had not survived him. And what you saw afterwards was this Protestant church, which is introduced under the 6th, which was a Calvinist church fundamentally, and British Calvinist saw themselves as a part of a European Calvinist church. So what happened in Europe mattered enormously to them. And Calvinism and Protestantism in general was in retreat. By this time in 1090, Protestants held half the land area of Europe.
100 years later, they only held a fifth. So you can see and and of course, the other thing is they're aware of is that Protestantism it only really survived where it was imposed or permitted by monarchs.
And this is another reason they felt they needed to have control over monarchs who the monarch was. That's a nice point.
That's all about that. OK, so we got when war breaks out, let's move to Charles Charles, the failed political negotiator. To be fair, how is how is he as a general, commanding men in battle?
Well, he's he's personally extremely brave and he inspires great loyalty. Parliament has control of London and the South-East and with it the majority of England's wealth and population and navy.
Yes. And the Navy as the under under Warick. Absolutely. And for a time, they also have an alliance with the Scots. Nevertheless, it takes many years to defeat Charles militarily.
As I said, everyone expected things to be over with one battle which they expected the king to lose when he raised his standard at Nottingham. It was a sort of pathetic scene of, you know, sort of a couple of hundred sort of measly sad looking people in the rain. So, you know, and then, you know, he had to fight the battle of Edgehill, which ended in a sort of bloody draw, almost won.
He almost won.
And and the general you know, the parliamentary general Essex was in a sort of a sovereign battle shock at the end of it all that maybe he was just sort of shocked about the hard won. But, you know, they didn't defeat Charles for many years.
I mean, it drove Cromwell Dotty and then but where was Charles's money and support coming from during the Civil War?
I mean, is it a case of, you know, magnates who would who would raise the sort of the local levies to fight, whether they like to, not for the king or these committed volunteers signing up to fight for a cause they believed in?
Both. Both. I think there was there was there was definitely arm twisting.
And Henrietta Maraire actually did a pretty good job in Europe, raising money right to the end. She was sort of, you know, going around, you know, raising raising money and arms for for her husband's cause. You know, she did she was she was a very powerful supporter for him.
So Butler Marston more Butler Naseby. It all becomes a hopeless cause for the king. But there wasn't he didn't it wasn't certain that he would be executed was it. I mean when does that actually regicide come into people's minds?
Well it's certainly come into people's minds. During the Second Civil War, the kind of royalist rising of sixteen forty eight, the new model, many people, the new model army are thoroughly fed up, having to sort of fight another fight again, lose more people. And they decide, you know, well, some of them a group of them decide that he should be tried. That man blood.
Where is Charles? In prison. At the end of that? I can't remember.
He he gives himself up to the Scots. He thinks he believes that he's got to be prepared to negotiate with him as a. As indeed they are, but he becomes their prisoner, not their guest, that he hadn't expected, they then because he won't compromise with them, he what he won't do, they want him to be prepared to say that episcopacy is wrong, innately wrong. Charles will never do that. They don't understand that. They don't understand as a core religious belief for Charles.
And so when they realize that they sell him to parliament and then and then he's with parliament and then he's snatched by the new model army, and then, you know, while he's imprisoned by them, you have this royalist rising in the Rolls-Royce.
That's the second civil war, effectively, effectively a second civil war.
And it's brutally put down by the new model is the English parliamentary army.
Exactly. Exactly. And also involves the Scots. And so there's a lot of very fed up people. And so he's going to be tried. He has to be put on trial, but it's still not certain that he's going to be executed because parliament again, it's even even even more absurd to call it parliament at this stage, because it's it's been purged by the new model army. So it's just a sort of rump.
But they don't know how Europe, people in Europe are going to react, how the great powers are going to react. They don't know how the people in this. It's it's a risk dropping off a king's head, as as you can imagine, and and difficult on many levels. So what they really want is Charles to recognise the court. If he does that, he's essentially recognising the supremacy of the commons, which means that he is admitting that he he has no negative voice, that he cannot prevent the passing of any legislation.
He has to say yes to whatever the Commons wants. But Charles doesn't do that. Charles won't recognize the court and therefore won't recognize the supremacy of the commons.
And so they're left with no choice but to chop off his head to Charles, lose his life, but save the monarchy by doing that again. It's a counterfactual. Yes.
I don't know.
I think that certainly I think that he where he died very bravely, he managed he had by this stage learned the value of the printed media and propaganda and the Icon Basilica, which was this purportedly autobiographical work, which argued, you know, that he had done sort of been right all along or whatever and argued that he was dying, essentially a martyr for the English people and for the English law and for the Church of England did help keep the royalist cause alive until the restoration of Charles a second.
But there was certainly no guarantees that there would be a restoration or a second would ever happen. I mean, luckily for the monarchy, I suppose the commonwealth was enormously unpopular.
I mean, I I am sitting here.
I'm thinking you're knowingly you're slightly convinced me that if you look at where parliaments and it's almost military dictatorship had gone and you look at where Charles was in the late 60s and 40s, the one that appears to have departed most from the historic norm is probably parliaments and the army. Yes.
And then, of course, they tried to retreat in a way because they tried to make a Cromwell king and he and he was a king, if not in name. He was he did become a he he ruled like a monarch. He even you know, he even had a mace. And, you know, he had a sort of coronation. His wife and his daughters were called princesses. It was extraordinary. He had a sort of court and he was succeeded by some.
And you succeeded by somebody who didn't work. It just didn't. It didn't it didn't quite work. But so, yes, they tried to imitate the old system. And so why so we so Charles is executed. Yeah, lots of wonderful stuff, wears two shirts.
He doesn't appear to shiver, says goodbye to his children. That's the best bit. Well, I missed the worst bit, but also very moving. But did he say goodbye to them in person? Yes, to his two youngest ones. One is 13. His daughter Elizabeth is 13, and his son Henry is five.
It is very difficult to either read or write about those scenes without, you know, getting soppy and blobbing, to be honest.
While everyone can read about that in your book and then he's executed, why it's so you argue that people have been particularly harsh on him because he was on the losing side?
Yes, I think that I think that, as I said, it's instead of remembering the ups and downs, the good, the good and the bad, they read the end, the failure against across his whole life. And one of the things I find very striking even into his his childhood when he was born, you know, frail in front, he had weak legs. He had this lingering deformity now. And in the past, people thought of disability as a mark of sin, of man's fallen nature.
So you have Shakespeare, you know, which of the third with his crooked spine and his being as a reflection of his crooked soul. And you still have people talking about Charles's weak legs as if they were somehow somehow the symptoms of weakness, of character and unlove ability and his and his sublingual deformity of some sort of dumb stupidity.
And we do of these old patterns of thought are very strong. So even if anybody went to see Wonderwoman last year, which bizarrely I saw on Skybox often as a slow moment, you would see that Wonderwoman was very beautiful and glamorous and physically perfect.
And her opponent, who's also a woman, Doctor Poison, is disfigured. We still so we still think in the same ways. Strange.
I took my daughter, someone who is incredibly age inappropriate, but we had a great time. It's a great movie. How did we get there from China?
Oh. Yes, exactly.
OK, so you're saying chances are you've rescued Charles from the bottom of the of the league table of English and British monarchs?
Yes, because I see him as a sort of tragic figure.
He's like he's like the protagonist of a Greek tragedy, really, because he's a man who's brought to ruin not by wickedness, because he's a man who is of great courage and high principle, but he's brought to ruin simply by ordinary human flaws and misjudgments. So we have empathy for him. We have empathy with him. All right.
Got a bit more empathy for him now. But also I've got more enthusiasm because I've just read Geoffrey Parks and extraordinary about the 17th century, the global.
Oh, yes. The one with the weather and everything. Fantastic.
So he argues that the combination of volcanoes, sunspots, various other things, it's wonderful book, extra large, very large book, extraordinary book.
And he argues that in the 17th century there was violence from North America, but particularly Britain, right the way across through South Asia to China and Japan. And he argues that one third of the globe's population was killed in the 17th century. So it was the backdrop to which Charles was desperately wrestling with these big issues was was pretty the environmental backdrop was awful as well.
Yes. And actually, the weather is a sort of notable feature, as always, freezing cold or pissing with rain and almost every sort of moment when you're when you and you have a sort of weather report, it's something terrible and the bad harvests and plague. But the war itself was the really was the really terrible thing here. And there was a description and of course, all those annoying things when you come across something, a source and you lose that source.
So then, of course, immediately lost. But it's a wonderful description of these European and before the war, they'd come and you know how striking it would be in England, an agriculturally rich society and everyone, it seems, sort of quite sort of fat and happy. And it comes back off for the war and everyone just so not is it so embittered and angry and and it had it had a huge psychological impact as well on everyone here, as you can understand, because more people well, as many people died as a percentage of population was killed in the trenches of First World War.
So it's not surprising in a way, worse war, because it's your friends, your neighbours, your members of your own family. No, thank you very much, you've you've painted a grim picture of what is the book called? It's called White King. Why? Why? Because it was a sobriquet that was used by Charles during his lifetime. He was said to have been the only king of England ever to have been crowned in white. This was, in fact, fake news.
And it was first used by his enemies.
They said he was the white king of the prophecies of Merlin, a doomed tyrant.
But it was then taken up by his friends who said, oh, no, that his white robes had been the sort of vestments of a future saint. And then there was a famous description of his burial in which, you know, which took place at Windsor. And it describes his coffin being taken from the great from the Great Hall at Windsor to St. George's Chapel. How does a snow storm and the snow covers the black velvet Paul with with white, the color of innocence and and the witness says and so went to the white king to his grave.
But that, too, was fake news.
The man who spun the story was a professional liar who had been actually employed by parliament to spy on Charles and his captivity, and then, of course, had been quite keen to suck up to Charles a second. And so sort of spanned this romantic story about Charles innocent Charles being buried.
Well, we think we're living in an era of fake news. Now, the 17th century made this era look like a palace of reason. I'll tell you.
Thank you very much. Dandelion White King available. Now go and buy it.
Thank you. You have to pay. I all part of the history of our country. Oh, my God, and I hope you enjoyed the podcast just before you go, a bit of a favor to ask.
I totally understand. If you want to become a subscriber or pay me any cash, money makes sense. But if you could just do me a favor, it's for free. Go to iTunes or have you get your podcast. If you give it a five star rating and give it an absolutely glowing review, perjure yourself, give it a glowing review. I'd really appreciate that. It's a tough world law of the jungle out there and I need all the support I can get so that will boost it up the charts.
It's so tiresome. But if you could do, I'd be very, very grateful. Thank you. Trends.
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