Remembering an execution

Posted by Helen Sunday, January 27, 2013 ,

Whether one thinks of King Charles I as the Martyred King or as the ruler who was so utterly incompetent in his political thinking (not to mention weak-willed) that he drove the country to a civil war or, indeed, anything between those two views, one would have found it hard not to be impressed by the carefully prepared and excellently staged King's Army Parade today that followed the King's last route from St James's Palace to Whitehall Palace. There he, having famously donned three shirts as the day was a cold one and he did not want anyone to think he was shivering with fright, he stepped out of the window of the Banqueting Hall, the only part of the old palace still in existence, and entered his martyrdom.

As I followed the horse riders, the soldiers with their muskets and pikes turned down and the slowly beating muffled drums, I thought again what an extraordinary moment in history that was: the definitive separation of the King as a person from the King as the personification of state.


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