Dan Snow's History Hit

The Execution of Charles I

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Episode notes

On the 30th January, 372 years ago, Charles I, king of Great Britain and Ireland, stepped out of the Banqueting House in Whitehall, to be beheaded in front of a huge London crowd. It was a deeply shocking moment not just in the lives of those people who witnessed it, but also in the longer span of British history. But the regicide didn’t just happen out of the blue, it was part of a truly revolutionary period - one that experienced civil war, regime change, religious upheaval and, for the only time in British history, a period of republican government.

Rebecca Warren, an early modern historian who specialises in the history of the church during the British civil wars and interregnum between 1640-1660, joins Dan on the podcast. They discuss the reason king and parliament went to war, the Battle of Preston in August 1648 as a turning point, the day-by-day details of the trial, and how the image of Charles as a martyr became immediately fostered as a result.

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