From a chapter named “Royal Demise”
January 30, 1649 – London, England – 9:30am – St. James’ Park
It was a bitter morning in London, with temperatures hovering in the low thirties. It was so cold that the Thames froze over. The sky was overcast, a harbinger of things to come.
King Charles knelt beside his dog; a brown and white spaniel named Rogue, and caressed his ears. “Never fear, my friend. Someone will care for you.” The dog gazed at him with innocent eyes. Charles knew that he would never see him again.
“My King!” William Juxon cried. The Bishop of London looked stricken. “I would be pleased to take him to your family or keep him myself if need be.”
Charles looked up. “Thank you, friend.” The old man was a devoted companion. “May God smile upon you.” The King stroked the dog’s back and planted a kiss on his head. Then he struggled to stand, relying upon his weak ankles.
“Let me help, your Majesty!” The Bishop reached out to assist him.
Charles waved a hand. “Nay, let me do it.” After a few more attempts he was upright, facing the Bishop. He gazed at the sky and sighed. “Such a beautiful morning.”
Juxon raised his eyebrows.
The King smiled. “Ah… I know that it is not. Humor me. For it is the last morning that I will ever see.”
“Oh…” The Bishop was close to tears, “I wish that was not true.”
The King squeezed his shoulder. “Weep not for me. For this is my second marriage day. Before night I hope to be espoused to my blessed Jesus.”
Juxon wept openly.
Charles barely heard him. Now that he’d said goodbye to the dog, he obsessed on events that led up to his predicament. After a long incarceration, he’d escaped to the Isle of Wight. Betrayed by the island’s governor, he’d been confined to Carisbrooke Castle. From this location, he bargained with various royalist parties and signed a secret treaty with the Scots. His offer was simple. If they would invade England on Charles’ behalf and restore him to the throne, he would tolerate Presbyterianism. Factions of royalist Scots invaded England, sparking a brutal second civil war. They were soundly defeated.
After failed negotiations, the King was moved to Hurst Castle in late 1648, then to Windsor Castle. For encouraging a civil war while in captivity, the monarch was accused of high treason. The House of Commons passed an Act of Parliament to create a court for his trial.
Charles had thought that this action would fail. It was dangerous to accuse a King of treason. Indeed, many potential commissioners refused to serve. Then the unthinkable happened. In early January, he’d been put on trial before sixty-eight commissioners who urged him to enter a plea. Charles refused, claiming that no court had jurisdiction over a monarch. He argued that his authority to rule had been given to him by God when he was crowned and the trial was illegal. Three times he refused to enter a plea! It was seen as an admission of guilt. The trial proceeded, witnesses were heard, and fifty-nine of the commissioners signed his death warrant.
The Chief Judge had delivered the sentence, “Charles Stuart is a tyrant, traitor, murderer, and public enemy to the good of this nation. He shall be put to death by severing his head from his body.”
The story continues in Dark Destiny…
Dark Destiny is book three in the Dark Birthright trilogy.
Read about the series: