ST. JAMES'S PARK
"Death of a King is spine-tingling and transportive.
A wonderful way of capturing the spirit of the time and place."
Jesse Childs, prize-winning writer and historian
"A magical tour...brilliantly written. it weaves you into its story and you are spellbound, watching the decline, fall and execution of the King - and you can’t do anything to stop it."
Kate Williams, CNN royal historian & New York Times bestselling author
London was once known as the City of Gallows. Between the first recorded public execution in 1196 to the last in 1868, tens of thousands of people were put to death. These public displays of control and violence became part of life in London. Notices of upcoming executions were published in pamphlets and broadsides drawing in vast numbers of spectators.
While hangings were the most common form of execution in London over the centuries, there were also burnings and beheadings. No matter the method, public executions resulted in a boost for the local economy – benefiting memorabilia peddlers, refreshment sellers and pickpockets. Although, in controversial events, such as the beheading of King Charles the First, crowds were highly controlled to prevent any disruptions.
Imagine a chilly day in late January 1649, and a carriage with a gold crest on its doors arrives at the gatehouse of St. James's Palace. It is carrying an eight-year-old boy and his thirteen-year-old sister. They are Henry, Duke of Gloucester, and Princess Elizabeth, two of Charles the First’s children.
But, this is no happy royal or family visit. For, in a unique moment in English history, the king has recently been condemned to death, and these children have been brought to London to say their final goodbyes to their father.
Escorted by a regiment of 1200 men, King Charles the First is paraded from St. James’s Palace, through St. James’s Park and onto Whitehall, where his executioner awaits.
Walk in the footsteps of the condemned King as you learn about the events that ultimately led to this remarkable renunciation of the Divine Right of Kings and stand witness to his final words as the axe falls.