As the tide turned for good in 1649, the King was forced on the run. A patrol of Scots pounced on him and he was handed over to parliament.
When the deposed ruler refused to cede to his captors’ demands of a constitutional monarchy – effectively a modern model of a power-sharing deal – his fate was sealed. The 48-year-old was tried, sentenced to execution and his head rolled while the monarchy, shockingly, was abolished.
Called “delusional”, “duplicitous” and “the worst king since the Middle Ages”, history has not been kind to the original King Charles.
However, he did father nine children. For his eldest surviving child, Charles II, ‘normal’ royal service only resumed following the Restoration of 1660 and the revival of the crown.
WATCH: King Charles’ state banquet speech
But as he emerged from exile, the bubonic plague was sending waves of death across the land, particularly in London. If the capital hadn’t suffered enough, the Great Fire of London in 1666 razed the mediaeval city to the ground.
Hardly Charles II’s fault, but the two events shaped England and became glum associations of failure that were hard to shake. Throw in war, scurrilous plotting and a secret vow to convert to Catholicism, the hedonist ‘Merry Monarch’ is considered a despot who produced no legitimate heirs but a dozen children by mistresses.
Another doomed namesake was ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’, aka Prince Charles Stuart. He claimed the throne in the 1700s through his Scottish royal lineage. The Young Pretender and agitator spent just 14 months on British soil in his lifetime and died in his birthplace, Rome, a hopeless alcoholic in 1788.
Fast forward to today and Charles Philip Arthur George could have opted for any of his names as monarchical monikers.
Prior to the death of Charles’ mother, Queen Elizabeth II, a friend told The Times, “He has talked about George.” But another insider insisted to The Guardian that in earlier ascension planning meetings, the thinking was he would always keep his first given name just as his revered mother did.
So will an older, wiser King Charles III keep his head and break the curse – or will it be third time just as unlucky?