This painting is one of several pieces related to the English Civil War in the Worcester City Museum Fine Art Collection. It is based on the Antony Van Dyck original of 1635, created in order to capture all aspects of the Stuart King and act as a reference for the Italian sculptor Bernini, allowing him to sculpt a bust from his studio in Rome. The original painting was returned to England by George IV in 1822 and is now part of the Royal Collection.
Charles’ belief in the ‘Divine Right of Kings’ and an unwillingness to compromise caused inevitable friction between himself and his own country. Charles believed that he had been given a duty by God and that it was not the place of men to question this authority. His decisions to dissolve parliament and rule without them, to impose a common prayer book on an unwilling nation, his acceptance of Catholicism, and unlawful taxation led to a political uprising, an invasion of England by an outraged Scotland, and Civil War. Parliament arrested and tried their King as a tyrant, traitor and murderer. When found guilty, many Parliamentarians still struggled with the decision to sign a death warrant for their own King, and some refused to do so.