King Charles I looms large in the British historical imagination. His equestrian statue (by Hubert Le Sueur) stands proudly, albeit on a traffic island, just in front of Trafalgar Square, while his bust stares out from the porch of St Margaret’s Church opposite the Houses of Parliament. The Banqueting House at Whitehall, the only surviving part of the Whitehall Palace complex, and which contains the grand Rubens ceiling that he commissioned, and in front of which the king was beheaded in 1649, is among London’s most visited tourist attractions while a recent exhibition at the Royal Academy entitled ‘Charles I: King and Collector’, an examination of Charles’s artistic tastes and patronage, was hailed as one of the cultural highlights of the year. Charles is one of the few English monarchs to have a society dedicated to him (Richard III being another) in the shape of the Society of St Charles King & Martyr, as well as an attendant feast day in the Church of England calendar. In the nineteenth century the romantic obsession with the defeated royalist cause had a habit of intruding into the pages of popular fiction, including Charles Dicken’s David Copperfield (in Mr Dick’s inability to stop Charles I taking over his memoirs) as well as Conan Doyle’s ‘The Musgrave Ritual’, where Charles’s crown is discovered buried in an aristocrat’s garden, while his escape from Hampton Court is the backdrop to the events in Captain Maryatt’s Children of the New Forest (occasionally adapted for television). He appears in cinema too, perhaps most memorably portrayed by Alec Guinness in an entertaining (if not 2always terribly historically accurate) 1970 film, Cromwell and by Rupert Everett in To Kill a King. His status, as the only British monarch ever to be publicly executed, ensures that he is a perennial point of reference for political failure and guarantees that, in an age sometimes considered ‘post-historical’, he continues to be the subject of popular and media attention.