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What kind of king was Charles I?

Case Study 2: Charles I as a ruler – Source 2

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Documents relating to the Duke of Buckingham, 1627

(Catalogue ref: SP 16/68/52, SP 16/68/54, SP 16/67/53)

SP16/68/52; documents on the Duke of Buckingham 1627
SP16/68/52; documents on the Duke of Buckingham 1627
SP16/68/52; documents on the Duke of Buckingham 1627
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SP16/68/52; documents on the Duke of Buckingham 1627
 

What is this source?

These are extracts from the State Papers of Charles I. The documents concern George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham.

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What's the background to this source?

Villiers (usually known as Buckingham) was Charles’s closest friend and political ally in the earliest years of his rule. Charles trusted him with many important posts.

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It's worth knowing that...

James I had always been clever at giving different government posts to members of different groups or families. He tried to keep the political nation happy this way. Charles I was less skilled at spreading top jobs among different rival groups. He gave enormous power and influence to Buckingham.

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Your turn: What does this source tell us?

  1. In source 2a Charles gave Buckingham the power to appoint his own deputy. James I had always kept this type of power for himself. Which king would you say was wiser? Why?
  2. Study source 2b. Which important positions did Buckingham hold?
  3. Buckingham was extremely unpopular with many leading nobles. Does source 2b give any clues as to why?
  4. Which of these two interpretations is best supported by sources 2a and 2b?
    • Charles was a good monarch because he rewarded loyal servants well.
    • Charles showed poor judgement by giving too much power to one man.
  5. Study source 2c. Does this tell us anything about the Duke of Buckingham and court life?