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PRISONER KING: Charles I In Captivity
Bibliophile price: £6.00
In April 1646, reduced to anonymity and finally taking his leave of Oxford in the guise of a Roundhead serving man, King Charles I rode away from the previously safe haven of his headquarters and refuge since the early days of the English Civil War. Only four years earlier, England's second Stuart ruler had entered the same city to a hearty welcome, fresh from the field of battle at Edgehill. Much has been written about his reign and the brutal civil war and about the Commonwealth regime that followed his defeat and execution. A neglected aspect needing re-examination is the crucial period encompassing Charles I's captivity after his surrender to the Scots at Newark in May 1646. Not only were the subsequent months before his trial a time when the human dimension of the King's predicament assumed unparalleled intensity, they were also a critical watershed when the entire nation stood at the most fateful of crossroads. For Charles himself, as subterfuge, espionage and assassination rumours escalated on all fronts, escape attempts foundered, and tensions with his absent wife mounted agonisingly, the test was supreme. Yet in a painful passage involving both stubborn impenitence and uncommon fortitude in the face of 'barbarous usage' by his captors, the 'Man of Blood' would ultimately come to merit his unique place in history as England's 'martyr king.' "Let me be heard with freedom, honour and safety?And show myself really to be Pater Patriae." 320pp, eight pages of illus. Colour.

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