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The King James who lived

King James I of England, who was also James VI of Scotland, was a much underrated monarch. After surviving the Gunpowder Plot, he held on to both his thrones, dying of natural causes at the age of 58: more than 20 years above the average of the time.

This may not seem all the remarkable, until you look at his family tree.

His father …

… was blown up.

His mother – Mary Queen of Scots …

… had to abdicate, and was later beheaded.

His son – Charles I …

… didn’t abdicate, but was beheaded.

And as for the other King Jameses of Scotland?

James I was murdered.

James II was killed by an exploding cannon.

James III …

… James IV …

… and James V …

all died during or soon after battles.

James VII …

… was driven into exile when his daughter and son-in-law (who was also his nephew) took arms against him.

Jamestown, Virginia, was named after the King James who survived. I visited it in the year of its 400th anniversary. Most of its early inhabitants were as lucky as the other Jameses.

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