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King James VI of Scotland (1567 - 1625)

Name: King James VI of Scotland
Father: Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley
Mother: Mary Queen of Scots
Relation to Charles III: 10th great-grandfather
House of: Stuart
Born: June 19, 1566 at Edinburgh Castle
Ascended to the throne: July 24, 1567 aged 1 years
Crowned: July 29, 1567 at Church of Holy Rude, Stirling, and King of England on July 25, 1603 at Westminster Abbey
Married: Anne of Denmark, November 24, 1589
Children: Three sons and five daughters, of whom three survived infancy; Henry, Elizabeth and Charles
Died: March 27, 1625, at Theobalds Park, Hertfordshire, aged 58 years, 9 months, and 7 days
Buried at: Westminster Abbey, London
Succeeded by: his son Charles

King of Scotland from 1567 and England (as James I) from 1603. The son of Mary Queen of Scots and her second husband, Lord Darnley, he succeeded to the Scottish throne on the enforced abdication of his mother and assumed power in 1583. He established a strong centralized authority, and in 1589 married Anne of Denmark (1574–1619).

As successor to Elizabeth I in England, he alienated the Puritans by his High Church views and Parliament by his assertion of divine right, and was generally unpopular because of his favourites, such as Buckingham, and his schemes for an alliance with Spain. He was succeeded by his son Charles I. As king of Scotland, he curbed the power of the nobility, although his attempts to limit the authority of the Kirk (Church of Scotland) were less successful.

Upon his accession to the English throne on the death of Elizabeth I, James acted mainly upon the advice of Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, but on the latter's death all restraint vanished. His religious policy consisted of asserting the supreme authority of the crown and suppressing both Puritans and Catholics who objected. The preparation of the Authorized Version of the Bible in English, published in 1611, was ordered by James. He thwarted Guy Fawkes's plot to blow up Parliament during its opening in 1605. The gunpowder plot, with its anti-Catholic reaction, gave James a temporary popularity which soon dissipated. His foreign policy, aimed primarily at achieving closer relations with Spain, was also disliked.

James's childhood and adolescence were unhappy, abnormal, and precarious; he had various guardians, whose treatment of him differed widely. His education, although thorough, was weighted with Presbyterian and Calvinist political doctrine, and his character – highly intelligent and sensitive, but also fundamentally shallow, vain, and exhibitionist – reacted violently to this. His political philosophy turned to the theory of the divine right of kings, in striking contrast to the practical experiences of his childhood. He also sought solace with extravagant and unsavoury male favourites who, in later years, were to have a damaging effect on his prestige and state affairs. His economic opportunism, with its disastrous effects on commerce, alienated city interests. Puritan influence and political awareness were increasing fast among the rural landowners, whose influence James never appreciated. His willingness to compromise politically, even while continuing to talk in terms of absolutism, largely accounts for the superficial stability of his reign. However, the effects of many of his actions were long term, becoming fully obvious only after his death. The marriage of James's daughter Elizabeth to Frederic V, Elector Palatine and King of Bohemia, was to result in the eventual Hanoverian succession to the British throne.

King James VI of Scotland's Signature

Timeline for King James VI of Scotland

Year Event
1567King James VI (aged 13 months) is crowned at the Church of the Holy Rude, beside Stirling Castle
1568Mary Queen of Scots flees to England following the defeat of her army at the Battle of Langside near Glasgow.
1578James VI takes over government from his regent James Douglas.
1582Establishment of the University of Edinburgh by Royal Charter.
1587Mary is beheaded by the order of Queen Elizabeth I of England.
1592Presbyterianism becomes the established form of church government in Scotland by Act of Parliament.
1600The Gregorian Calendar is adopted in Scotland. The year begins on 1st January instead of 25th March
1603The Union of the Crowns James VI of Scotland becomes James I of England.
1614John Napier invents logarithms and publishes a book promoting their use in mathematics.
1618James VI forces episcopacy on the Church of Scotland through the Five Articles of Perth.
1625James VI dies. His son Charles I becomes king of England and Scotland