Charles I, 1625–9
The accession of Charles I marked a clear departure from his father’s reign in several ways, the most obvious of which initially was his character. Short of stature and physically unimposing, Charles avoided public speaking whenever possible. This was in part due to shyness, and also to the fact that he was troubled with a serious stammer. In 1626, he excused his lack of oration to Parliament on the grounds that ‘I mean to show what I should speak in actions’, but such an approach meant that communication between the King and his subjects was often lacking. During times of stress and difficulty his critics were to find it all too easy to attribute sinister motives to the King or to his advisers. Charles lacked the approachability and flexibility of his father, qualities that had helped James to assure his subjects of his good intentions, even when they had questioned the wisdom of his policies. Charles’s aloofness and inflexibility were to prove serious handicaps for the new King.