It just seems that we can do a lot better than this. When you watch the video below, take note that the last segment is indeed important simply because it reveals to you how even some segments of the Canadian media were quite hysterical and very irresponsible when it comes to their reporting.
Of course, some American outlets did indeed report on this real tragedy in highly measured tones. It would be a lot better if the majority of U.S. media such as CNN and Fox News would follow their lead.
Every so often, fashion & views change with regards to history, especially when portrayed in historical and non-fiction.
After the Civil War, the Church of England made the King a martyr and Cromwell’s corpse was dug up and hanged. Since Victorian times, the King continues to be portrayed as the greedy, arrogant, autocratic Monarch who forced the nation to civil war, with the Roundheads those who saved England from Popery, autocracy and gave Parliament democracy.
By nature, Charles was very shy and reserved, hiding behind a mask of dignity and coldness. Being self-disciplined, he lived his life to a strict timetable where religion played an enormous part. He drank little beer and wine, never swore and kept faithful to the Queen. He had shown enormous willpower to overcome the weakness in his limbs, but always had a stammer. Charles’ inner self was harder for anyone to see. His reserve made it difficult to know him, making him appear haughty.
Charles could not take a quick decision, but once he had, he would never change it. Usually this was bad, as he was guided by stronger willed men, who didn’t have his sense or intuition. Nowadays, this fact tends to overshadow more favourable characteristics.
Charles believed himself appointed by God, a widely held belief, which made him take his responsibilities seriously. When Parliament demanded his power, he saw it as an attack on himself and his people.
Autocratic? – He ruled without Parliament and dug up ancient laws in order to improve the Royal Navy. Ruling without Parliament was not uncommon, James I and Elizabeth I had done so. Charles was only following custom when he said Parliament was there to grant money and advice, nothing more.
He was horrified at the casualties in the war and always did his best to keep them to a minimum. He refused to storm Gloucester in 1643, because casualties would be high, allowed Essex’s army to march away freely winning the battle of Lostwithiel and sent his own physician to wounded John Hampdons side, an enemy since the 1630’s.
To save his people and the Monarchy and rather than submitting to demands and keeping his life, Charles died knowing that death would create a Royalist wave of support. His son would give the people a King again, stopping the rule of the sword.
The people soon saw what, “freedom,” a republic would give them; Cromwell and the army overran Parliament to impose their rule, taxed immensely higher, overturned the church and devastated Ireland.
The lack of publicity Charles excellent qualities have recieved, makes it a difficult task to introduce them nowadays. I hope I have succeeded in this in my novel, which opens up this alternative view. An interesting challenge, especially in fiction, is portraying the forgotten qualities of a man who was hard to know well and deserves better press. Charles’ nature, character and position, means you have to know him yourself before writing about him.