Charles I was a peculiar Anglican

Click to follow
The Independent Online
From Mr Gerard van Werson Sir: The interesting letters printed in response to Edward Fox's article about Charles I (1 February) rather miss the point. The king believed passionately in his role as head of the Anglican church, but his love of ritual and order and the religious settlement he devised with Archbishop Laud emphasised the Catholic inheritance of the Church of England.

The political claims and pretensions of the Papacy were anathema to him as to most sensible monarchs, but when his courtiers interpreted the masque dancing of the Anglican king and his Catholic queen as a symbol of rapprochement, they were not entirely fanciful. In private, Charles stated that he wished the Reformation had never happened ("Take care, Sire," said a shocked courtier) and it makes good sense to see him and most of his court as Anglicans of a peculiar kind rather than Protestants.

If the Civil War had not broken out, it is likely that the king and Laud would have moved the entire Church of England to a position best described as crypto-Catholic; but of course without the Pope.

Yours faithfully, GERARD van WERSON London, SE20