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Why King Charles III follows in footsteps of controversial namesakes

War, execution, scandal and a royal revival marked the reigns of King Charles III’s predecessors who shared the same name.

The new king will be hoping his reign does not come to the same bloody end as Charles I whose conflicts with parliament led to the English civil war, his eventual execution and a short-lived and often forgotten English republic.

And his Charles II‘s restoration to the throne in 1660 marked the end of turbulent republican rule in England.

Charles III had considered being called George VII when he took the throne to distance himself from his infamous royal namesakes.

Charles, commonly a name taken by Spanish and French kings, was considered jinx in British royal circles, The London Times reported in 2005.

Queen Elizabeth II has died on 8th of September 2022, aged 96 after historic 70-year reign ending the longest reign of any British monarch. All children and grandchildren rushed to Balmoral today after doctors became concerned for her health. Hours later she died, surrounded by her family.

Her son Charles, the former Prince of Wales, is now King Charles III. Together with Queen Camilla he made a statement:
The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family. 
We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother.  I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world. 
During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held. (Photo by DPPA/Sipa USA)
Camera IconCharles III had considered being called George VII when he took the throne to distance himself from his infamous royal namesakes. Credit: DPPA/Sipa USA

King Charles III comes to the throne as the royal family continues to be rocked by in-fighting and scandal — and after a period in which, despite the turmoil around her, his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, remained a widely respected rock of stability.

Charles I became king in 1625, but there were tensions with parliament over money and because Charles favoured a High Anglican form of worship, and his wife was Catholic.

Charles dissolved parliament three times between 1625 and 1629, when he dismissed parliament and decided to rule alone.

His need for revenue made him ever-more unpopular and unrest in Scotland over a new prayer book meant he called on parliament for money to fight the Scots.

In 1641, tensions over who should command an army to suppress an uprising in Ireland and Charles’ attempt to have five members of parliament arrested led in 1642 to civil war.

Charles I became king in 1625.
Camera IconCharles I became king in 1625. Credit: Photo 12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Royalists were defeated in 1645-1646 by a combination of parliament’s alliance with the Scots and the formation of the New Model Army.

In 1646 the Scots handed him over to parliament, but after he escaped to the Isle of Wight in 1647 and encouraged discontented Scots to invade, the “‘Second Civil War” was fought, leading to another royalist defeat by Parliamentarian general Oliver Cromwell.

MPs including Cromwell put Charles on trial for treason and he was found guilty and executed in 1649.

Cromwell, as Lord Protector, virtually became king and when he died in 1658, the slain king’s son, Charles II, ascended to the throne.

Charles II, ascended to the throne in 1658.
Camera IconCharles II, ascended to the throne in 1658. Credit: Heritage Images/Fine Art Images/Heritage Images via Getty Images

He was 12 when the Civil War began and after the parliamentary victory he was forced into exile on the continent.

In 1650, Charles II did a deal with the Scots and was proclaimed king. With a Scottish army he invaded England but was defeated by Cromwell at the Battle of Worcester in 1651. He again escaped into exile but in 1660 was invited back to England to reclaim his throne.

It was again a time of turmoil, and his leanings towards Catholicism met a hostile response from parliament.

The early years of Charles II’s reign took place amid an outbreak of plague (1665) and the Great Fire in 1666 which necessitated substantial rebuilding of London.

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