James I: The King Who United Scotland and England

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The life of King James VI who united England and Scotland under one crown and became James I in 1603 is marked by contradictions. Generally praised as a good king of Scotland and a poor English one, James was a deep theological thinker, but he also inspired a superstitious frenzy which resulted in the North Berwick witch hunt and trials in the 1590s. Scholar and pedant, he was in his own view God’s appointed ruler, yet also a foul mouthed sloven and forever tarnished with the title of the Wisest Fool in Christendom.

The most glaring contrast in his personal life was between his image as a married family man and as a ruler who lavished indiscreet affection on a series of men whom he invested with considerable power. This book approaches James through the lens of his relationships with his major favourites. First was Anglo-French lord Esme D’Aubigny, then Scottish squire Robert Carr (later Earl of Somerset), and finally the consummate nobleman George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham. ‘A king will have need to use secrecy in many things,’ the king wrote in one of his books. Although his private life was sometimes astonishingly visible, there are still many mysteries about James I as a man rather than a ruler.

This work tracks the king’s life from a barren childhood through a succession of plots, intrigues and conspiracies in Scotland which largely forged, or deformed, his character. Beyond his complex and disputed connection with these men the book looks at his relationship with his wife, sponsorship of the arts, and contains a reappraisal of the first and most neglected historical mystery of his first reign, the Gowrie Conspiracy.

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Manufacturer/Publisher: Pen & Sword
Binding: Hardback
Author: Keith Coleman
Date Published: 2023
Pagination: 256p

SKU: 9781399093590