King Charles III: History Shows British Monarchs Named Charles Had A Bad Time

King Charles III: History Shows British Monarchs Named Charles Had A Bad Time

  • Historians are worried that the bad times of the previous British monarchs named Charles may rub off King Charles III
  • The first King Charles was executed by his Parliament for being a tyrant and taking decisions that were not in the best interest of the people
  • The second King Charles also died after a stroke and he reigned through some of the most difficult periods in British history

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After his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, died the then Prince of Wales was proclaimed the next British monarch and he chose King Charles III as his official title.

While this looks like a harmless decision, historians are concerned about the choice of the name Charles because the legacies of Kings Charles I and Charles II have been problematic.

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King Charles III, full name Charles Arthur George, according to the BBC, could have settled on any one of the names as King. Many had even speculated that he would chose George once he became King.

King Charles III
King Charles III. Source: Getty Images.
Source: AFP presents historical accounts of the contentious and even tragic reigns of the two previous Kings named Charles.

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King Charles I Was Executed

King Charles I
Portrait of King Charles I. Source: UGC/ Royal Museum Greenwich.
Source: UGC

Historical accounts show that young Charles had poor health. He was always sick, had difficulty walking and struggled with his speech. His biological defects were amplified by the near perfect health and stature of his elder brother, the heir apparent.

Unfortunately, but perhaps fortunately for Charles, his elder brother died suddenly of an illness, and propelled him to the front of the line of succession.

According to the Royal Museum Greenwich, King Charles I, then in his mid-20s rose to the throne as King of England and Scotland in 1625 by succeeding his father James I. Just like his father, the reign of King Charles I was a characterised by conflict with his Parliament.

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At the height of these conflicts, a civil war broke out.

Some of the controversial things King Charles I did that made him unpopular are as follows:

  • He married a Catholic in the first year of his reign, offending many English Protestants.
  • He also dissolved Parliament when he was faced with opposition, causing him to rule alone on a number of occasions.
  • In his first four years of ruling he dissolved parliament three times, once for 11 years. He would only reassemble Parliament to raise funds when he ran out of money because of expensive foreign wars.
  • He lost popular support over public welfare issues such as the imposition of drainage schemes which affected thousands of Brits.

During the English Civil War he was captured, tried by a court put together by his Parliament and in 1649 executed in public.

Charles II Died After A Stroke

King Charles II
Portrait of King Charles II. Source: UGC/Royal UK.
Source: UGC

Charles II was the eldest surviving son of Charles I. After his father died, England became a republic but Scotland still held on to the monarchy.

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According to Royal UK, he was crowned King Charles II on January 1 1651 by the Scots at Scone.

For a brief period, he became popular but he failed to resolve the country’s many religious conflicts.

His scandalous affairs did nothing for his reputation as the “merry monarch”. He also ruled through the 1665 Great Plague and the 1666 Great Fire of London.

King Charles II died after a stroke in 1685 with the many problems facing his country still unresolved.

These two King Charles have caused historians to believe that the name Charles is not associated with the best of times for the British monarchy.

Elderly King Charles III faces 'testing times' has reported in a separate story that King Charles III has endured the longest wait for the throne in British history.

But while his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, was crowned in 1953 with huge fanfare and national excitement aged just 25, her ageing, eldest son will attract less enthusiasm, royal commentators said.

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"It will be very difficult for him in terms of following the queen," Robert Hazell, who founded the Constitution Unit at University College London, told AFP.

"The monarchy is likely to go through, I think, some testing times."

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George Nyavor avatar

George Nyavor (Head of Politics and Current Affairs Desk) George Nyavor writes for He has been Head of the Politics and Current Affairs Desk since 2022. George has over 9 years of experience in managing media and communications (Myjoyonline and GhanaWeb). George is a member of the Catholic Association of Media Practitioners Ghana (CAMP-G). He obtained a BA in Communications Studies from the Ghana Institute of Journalism in 2010. Reach out to him via

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