The Execution of Charles I

Plaque marking site of Charles I's execution

Plaque marking site of the execution

January 30th – On this day in 1649, having bid a heartbreaking goodbye to his young children, Charles I was executed for treason outside the Banqueting House in Whitehall (see also January 28th  blog posting here).

It was a freezing cold day, so he put on an extra shirt,  that no-one might see him shiver, and think him scared (“the season is so sharp as probably may make me shake, which some observers may imagine proceeds from fear [and] I would have no such imputation”).

Clock above Horse Guards' Parade with hour of execution blacked out

Clock above Horse Guards’ Parade with hour of execution blacked out

Eventually, after what must have been a harrowing wait, at 2pm, he delivered an almost inaudible address to the crowd, and at the end proclaimed  “I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown, where no disturbance can be, no disturbance in the world”.  He then made a silent prayer,  laid his head upon the block, and had it stricken from his body.  Whereupon, according to an eye-witness account, a “great groan”  went up from those watching.  The usually ubiquitous John Evelyn was pointedly not among them, writing in his diary: “The Villanie of the Rebells proceeding now so far as to Trie, Condemne, & Murder our excellent King … struck me with such horror that I kept the day of his Martyrdom a fast, & would not be present, at that execrable wickednesse … ”.

Hubert le Sueur's equestrian statue of Charles I at the end of Whitehall (1633)

Hubert le Sueur’s equestrian statue of Charles I at the end of Whitehall (1633)

The site is visited on our “St Paul’s to Westminster Abbey – Priories, Palaces and Parliament” standard walk, and on our “Post-Medieval London” themed special.

Further details of all our walks are available in the “Our Guided Walks” section of the web-site.  Bookings may be made through the “Contact/Booking” page, by e-mail, or by phone (020-8998-3051).
Site of Charles I's execution in Whitehall

Site of Charles I’s execution in Whitehall – outside the Banqueting House

2 thoughts on “The Execution of Charles I

  1. Pingback: The Great Fire of London – 2nd September | The Lost City of London

  2. Pingback: The death of Henry VIII – and Whitehall Palace | The Lost City of London

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