James inherited the throne of England after the death of his mother's cousin, Queen Elizabeth I. He was never a very popular monarch in England and laid much of the groundwork that would eventually lead to the beheading of his heir Charles I during the English Civil War, but because of his political skills, his rule was relatively stable.
James married Anne of Denmark by proxy on August 20, 1589, and in person on November 23, 1589 and again in person in January 21, 1590. They had eight children, of whom only seven survived long enough to be named -- only three lived beyond infancy:
- Henry Frederick Stuart, Prince of Wales - (February 19, 1594 - November 6, 1612).
- Elizabeth Stuart - (August 19, 1596 - February 13, 1662).
- Margaret Stuart - (December 24, 1598 - March, 1600).
- King Charles I of England, Scotland and Ireland - (November 19,1600 - January 30, 1649).
- Robert Bruce Stuart, Duke of Kintyre - (January 18, 1602 - May 27, 1602).
- Mary Stuart - (April 8, 1605 - September 16, 1607).
- Sophia Stuart - (June 22, 1606 - June 23, 1606).
James dissolved the English Parliament on February 8, 1622, following a dispute involving parliamentary criticisms of a marriage proposed by James, of his son Charles to Princess Maria Anna of Spain.
King James is considered to have been one of the most intellectual and learned individuals ever to sit on any English, Scottish or British throne, and as a partial result, much of the cultural flourishing of Elizabethan England continued. He is also remembered for authorizing the production of the King James Version of the Bible, the highly popular English translation from Greek and Hebrew; beyond that, he wrote several books himself. However, he lacked Elizabeth's business skills. Some historians have suggested that the economy suffered.
'Queen James'One area of James VI/I's life that for many years remained clouded in controversy was allegations that James in fact homosexual. While his close relationships with a number of men were noted, earlier historians questioned their sexual nature. Few modern historians cast any doubt on the King's homosexuality and the fact that his sexuality and choice of male partners both as King of Scotland then later in London as King of England were the subject of gossip from the taverns to the Privy Council. His relationship as a teenager with fellow teenager Esmé Stuart, Seigneur d'Aubigny, Earl of Lennox was criticised by Scottish church leaders, who were part of a conspiracy to keep the young King and the young French courtier apart. Lennox, facing threats of death, was forced to leave Scotland. In the 1580s, King James openly kissed Francis Stewart Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell. Contemporary sources clearly hinted their relationship as sexual. When James inherited the English throne from Queen Elizabeth I in 1603, it was openly joked of the new English monarch in London that Rex fuit Elizabeth: nunc est regina Jacobus (Elizabeth was King: now James is Queen.)
Historians have debated whether James was unwise in his choice of male partner; from page-boy turned Gentleman of the Bedchamber Robert Carr (made Earl of Sommerset) to royal cupbearer turned Earl of Buckingham, George Villiers, whose relationship with the King was discussed at the Privy Council (James called Villiers his 'wife' and he Villiers' 'husband'.) Buckingham in particular came to play a major part in the governance of the English kingdom, though historians differ on whether Buckingham's impact was positive or negative.
James VI/I died in 1625 of gout and senility and is buried in the Henry VII chapel in Westminster Abbey. When on 23 August 1628 Buckingham was assassinated, he was buried in a tomb to King James' right in the Henry VII chapel. Another of James' male favourites was buried in a tomb on the King's left.
- "Monarchy is the greatest thing on earth. Kings are rightly called gods since just like God they have power of life and death over all their subjects in all things. They are accountable to God only ... so it is a crime for anyone to argue about what a king can do" 
- "Kings...have power of raising and casting down, of life and death, judges over all their subjects...and yet accountable to none but God only."
- "A Scotch Presbytery agreeth as well with monarchy as God with the devil. Then Jack and Tom and Will and Dick shall meet, and at their pleasure censure me and my council...Until you find that I grow lazy, let that alone..."
- Fraser, Antonia. King James VI of Scotland and James I of England (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1974)
- Lee, Maurice. England's Solomon: James VI and I in his Three Kingdoms (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1990)
- G.P.V. (ed.). Letters of King James VI & I. (Berkeley : University of California Press, 1984)
- Young, Michael B. King James and the History of Homosexuality. (New York : New York University Press, 2000)
- Website on James VI/I
- Another website about James VI/I
- website on which is published Rictor Norton, "Queen James and His Courtiers" from The Great Queens of History
|Preceded on the English
|List of British Monarchs||Succeeded by:
|Preceded on the Scottish
Mary, Queen of Scots