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The King's Speech

On 3 November 1640, King Charles I delivered a speech to both houses of the newly-assembled English Parliament. Over the summer, an army of Scots rebels had crossed into England and occupied Newcastle and Durham. Desperately short of money and options, Charles was turning to Parliament in a moment of necessity, something he had long dreaded. Charles told the assembled Lords and MPs that he had assembled the Parliament ‘for the chasing out of the rebels'. This was only partly true: in fact, the Scots themselves had demanded that Charles call a Parliament, as had many of Charles's critics in England. Charles asked the Parliament to provide money for the army and for the relief of the northern counties. Mere days later, the Parliament's attention would instead turn to dismantling Charles's government. Handwritten copies of the king's opening speech circulated widely.