King Charles I

Civil War, execution, the abolition of the monarchy: Charles I's life and death marks the most dramatic period in the history of the British royal family.

But away from the momentuous events of Charles's reign, his rule is also key to the royal history of Greenwich. Keen patrons of the arts, Charles and his wife Henrietta Maria made the Queen’s House a well-known destination for masques. Henrietta Maria later became the last queen to live in the Queen’s House.

Find out more about the history of Charles I's reign and the reasons behind his execution.

Painting of Charles I
(© NMM)


There was no full-time navy when James I (VI of Scotland) and Charles I were on the throne. This left the British coastline vulnerable to attack.

Portraits of Henrietta Maria and Charles I, from the studio of Sir Anthony van Dyck (detail).png

Henrietta Maria and Charles I loved to present masques - great spectacles of dance, music, poetry and drama.

Charles I (1600-1649).jpg

Charles I succeeded his father James I in 1625 as King of England and Scotland. During Charles’ reign, his actions frustrated his Parliament and resulted in the wars of the English Civil War, eventually leading to his execution in 1649.

Henrietta Maria etching by van Dyck

Wife to King Charles I and Queen consort of England Scotland and Ireland, Henrietta Maria was a patron of the arts who oversaw Inigo Jones’s completion of the Queen’s House in 1635.