British monarch who lost his head having generated of religious and political controversy. Charles was born in Dunfermline, son of King James VI who, shortly after the birth, was to become James I of England. Charles was the last King to be born in Scotland. He was a sickly child and only became King because his brother died at the age of 16. Shortly after his coronation in London (1626), there began a series incidents which alienated Charles from his nobles, people and parliament. It was not until 1633 that Charles was crowned King of Scotland in Edinburgh. However, there were also problems here; measures to draw the Calvinist Scottish church closer to the English Episcopalian church resulted in widespread popular support for the National Covenant of 1638.
Reconciliation failed and Charles found himself on the losing side of a Civil War in England (1642-46). Charles chose to surrender to the more sympathetic Scots, but was handed over to the English Parliament. This was a matter of regret for the Scots, whose Presbyterian influence in the English Parliament was soon much diminished by Cromwell's hard-liners. This Parliament convicted and executed Charles. He is buried at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.