Charles II Hides In Oak Tree To Escape Oliver Cromwell’s Army

Charles II was forced to hide in an oak tree at Boscobel on 6 September 1651, following his disastrous defeat at the Battle of Worcester three days earlier. He was crowned in Scotland and had led a small army across the border to reclaim the English throne which had been lost two years earlier, when…

The Rough Wooing: Uniting Scotland and England under Tudor rule

Henry VIII negotiated a marriage treaty for his son Edward and Mary Queen of Scots. He pursued an aggressive policy when the Scots rejected the treaty’s terms. The English defeated the Scots at Solway Moss on 24 November 1542 and took 1,200 captive. James V died three weeks later, leaving his week old daughter Mary…

Margaret Tudor: James IV of Scotland’s Queen

Margaret Tudor led a very turbulent life, causing scandal. She married three times, and, like her brother Henry VIII, had trouble obtaining divorces. She “had the faults of the Tudors without their brains”! Margaret was born on 28 November 1489—“a sturdy, healthy child”—the eldest daughter of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. She was a…

James IV of Scotland (1488-1513): Scotland’s Renaissance King

James IV brought unity, international status and the Renaissance to Scotland but his foreign policies proved his downfall. James encouraged artists, musicians and writers at his court. The first printing press was established in 1507.  His reign was also a time of peace and prosperity. His parliament passed the first compulsory education act in 1496.…

Scotland’s Fight For Independence: William Wallace and Robert The Bruce

William Wallace won a dramatic victory against the English in 1297. The large, well-equipped and arrogant English army were annihilated by Wallace’s men—a mere rabble. Robert the Bruce continued the fight for independence. English intervention began after Alexander III’s death in 1286. Alexander’s young granddaughter Margaret—the Maid of Norway—was his sole heir. She died en-route…

Macbeth (1040-1057): King of Scotland

Macbeth lived during brutal times. He defeated Duncan I in 1040 and reigned for seventeen years. His story differs from Shakespeare’s play written six centuries later. Macbeth belonged to the hereditary aristocracy of Moray, with a claim to the Scottish throne. His mother was closely related to Malcolm II. (Sources claimed she was one of…

James Francis Edward Stuart: The Old Pretender

The Old Pretender was a pessimist living in exile whose attempt to claim the English, Scottish and Irish thrones failed in The Fifteen Jacobite rising. James Francis Edward was born 10 June 1688 amidst the warming-pan scandal. He fled with his mother, Mary Beatrice of Modena, to France when William of Orange’s invasion led to…

The Restoration: Charles II and His Kingdoms

Charles II made his triumphant royal entry into London to reclaim his three kingdoms on 29 May 1660. Many who welcomed the Restoration were soon disappointed.The Protectorate under Oliver Cromwell enjoyed stability since Charles I’s beheading in January 1649. However, Cromwell died on 3 September 1658 after a short period of illness.AnarchyRichard succeeded his father…

Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland (1660-1685)

Charles II was best known as the Merry Monarch but his reign also saw the rise of colonisation and trade in India, the East Indies and America. He was born at St James’s Palace on 29 May 1630—the first surviving child of Charles I and Henrietta Maria. He was a robust and an exceptionally large…