Charles I's Private Life

The lead characters of the Wars of The Three Kingdoms tend to generate either a passion, or a hostility, that would make one believe that the events that took place happened in living memory rather than nearly 400 years ago. 

With this in mind, there are all too many biographies and commentaries that are, to put it politely, hagiographies.

The latest biography of King Charles I has landed on the doormat of Château KeepYourPowderDry*: "Charles I's Private Life"

Written by Mark Turnbull who, if you are trying to remember why that name is familiar, has written a number of novels set during the Civil War, as well as writing and presenting the Cavalier Cast podcast. Whilst not tickling his keyboard he is also one of the co-chairs of the Northern region of the Battlefields' Trust.

Mark writes in an easily accessible manner, and has clearly researched his subject in depth. Chapters are short and make 'a chapter before bed' an achievable target.

Biographies of Charles usually fall into two camps depending upon the political leanings of the author - Charles is portrayed as either a saintly martyr#, or as an incompetent unfit to rule. Mark finds a middle ground, and manages to paint a picture of Charles the man, rather than Charles the king.

This biography looks at Charles's early life: how he went from heir spare to ascending  the throne; the influence of his father and the push of divine right (something that had started being played down by English monarchs since Henry VIII); and Charles's naïvety of politics and the people who surrounded him.

Recommended reading.


* in the interests of openness I'd like to point out that I paid for my copy 

# It became very fashionable to view Charles as a religious martyr particularly around 1660, can't for the life of me wonder why... And there are still two Anglican devotional societies dedicated to Saint Charles the Martyr - The Society of King Charles the Martyr, and the Royal Martyr Church Union.

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