PRINCE CHARLES IN THE PARLIAMENTS OF 1621 AND 1624 1
This article explores the actions of Prince Charles in the parliaments of 1621 and 1624. It discusses his role in the electoral process, his activities in parliaments, and the legislation which affected his interests. It begins by exploring the precedents for the heir to the throne being summoned to parliament, before examining his political apprenticeship in 1621, and how his actions in 1624 reveal the difficulties in controlling the reversionary interest. Throughout the two parliaments, Charles was an active participant, taking part in debates in the House of Lords, committee meetings, joint conferences, and in liaising between the king and parliament. The article concludes by suggesting that Charles, although successful in achieving some of his aims, believed that he had been able to manipulate parliament for his own ends when in fact the tide of events ran with him and deluded him. This led to a false assumption that he could control parliament – a notion which had disastrous consequences when he summoned his own parliaments after he had succeeded to the throne in 1625.
1 This article was first presented as a paper in March 1996 at the Tudor/Stuart seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, London. I wish to thank the members of that seminar for their helpful comments. I am grateful to Dr Pauline Croft for her willingness to discuss the issues raised here and to Professor Michael Graves and Drs Henry Lancaster and Jason Peacey for their assistance.