Reaction from the King of France to the execution of Charles I, 1649
(Catalogue ref: SP 116/292)
This is part of a declaration apparently by King Louis XIII of France, reacting to the death of Charles I. This seems to be a printer’s error because Louis XIII died in 1643, a number of years before Charles’ execution. However the new King of France, Louis XIV, was only 10 years old in 1649 and government continued under the regency of his mother Queen Anne. This might help explain the confusion in this printed pamphlet of the young king’s statement.
King Louis announced France would ban all trade with England. He also said he intended to raise an army to help Charles’s son (also called Charles).
In December 1648 the army and radical (extreme) MPs effectively took over Parliament. They put Charles I on trial and executed him in January 1649.
They charged Charles with treason, of betraying his country. During the trial the king claimed that the court was not legal because there was no court that could put a king on trial. He refused to accept the authority of the court right up to the end.
Charles probably had more sympathy and support in the country at this time than at any other time in his reign. Putting a king to death was a deeply shocking thing to do. The execution was held in public outside Charles’s own hall at Westminster. When he died, the crowd groaned.
Putting a king to death was a challenge to the established order not only at home but also abroad. Rulers and people across Europe would have been shocked and nervous of what would happen next.