‘The season is so sharp’ – Charles 1

On the 30 January 1649, Charles I walked through St James Park. It was a cold morning and the King had chosen to wear two shirts as he did not want the watching crowds to think he was shivering through fear.

‘The season is so sharp as probably may make me shake, which some observers may imagine proceeds from fear. I would have no such imputation’

He was led through Whitehall Palace to the Banqueting house, where he could look up one last time to see Ruben’s ceiling and the image of his dead father riding majestically to heaven. He then stepped out of the window to meet his executioner and just after 2pm he was beheaded in front of a silent crowd.

It was a sad end for one of our most controversial monarchs. In a case at the Harley Gallery, hangs the pearl earring that he wore that morning. It was later given by his granddaughter Queen Mary II to the Earl of Portland. We have shared photos of this at the end of our post. It is set on a tiny gold crown.

📍The Queen’s House, The National Gallery, Ham House, Banqueting House in Whitehall, Christie’s, Harley Foundation