The Execution of Charles I

The great and good of the ECWS solemnly carry their wreath.

Charles was beheaded on Tuesday, 30th January 1649. This year was the 370th anniversary of the regicide.

Charles had spent time with two of his children, Henry and Elizabeth,on the 29th; and, had been allowed to walk his dog one last time in St James’s Park on the morning of his execution.

He had a last meal of bread and wine, then walked from St James’s Palace, where he had been held captive, to the Palace of Whitehall. An execution scaffold had been erected outside the Banqueting House. Famously, he had asked for two shirts to wear, as he did not want anyone to mistake his shivering for fear.

At 2pm, he placed his head on the executioner’s block and bade him make a clean strike. He signalled to the executioner his readiness by putting out his hands.
So, I hear you wonder, have I suddenly become a monarchist lamenting the execution of King Charles? Not for one minute, it does give me the excuse of sharing some pictures of this year’s Commemoration of the death of Charles Ist by the ECWS King’s Army.

ECWS King's Army form up on The Mall, some small detached property in the background

The re-enactors assembled at St James’s Palace and marched down The Mall to Horse Guards Parade, from where a wreath was carried to the execution place outside Banqueting House. Drums were covered by black cloth, black ribbons tied to pikes, drummers beat out a solemn slow march.

The King's Army assemble at Horseguard's Parade

 This commemoration takes place every year, and has done for the last forty years. If you are in town on the closest Sunday to the 30th January, it’s worth braving the cold, and watching. Plus there is the bonus of seeing the bemusement of overseas visitors, who must all think we're mad.

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