Scottish and English Monarch. Born in Edinburgh, he was the only child of Mary, Queen of Scots and Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, who was murdered before James was a year old. James grew up under the guidance of nannies and tutors, most notably the poet, dramatist, and humanist George Buchanan. Though his formative years were spent surrounded by incompetence, intrigue and violence, he was a devoted scholar, theologian, and writer. He published such works as "Demonologie", "The True Law of Free Monarchies", and "Basilikon Doron". James ascended to the throne of Scotland in 1567, when his mother abdicated. He was crowned on July 29 at Stirling Castle, and ruled under a regency until he turned 19. He married Anne of Denmark on November 23, 1589, and they had eight children; only three survived childhood. He was named the heir to the English throne by his cousin Queen Elizabeth I, and became James I of England upon her death. He was crowned at Westminster Abbey on July 25, 1603. James was now the king of two countries who, for the most part, couldn't stand one another. He had ruled Scotland for 29 years, but that did little to prepare him for the English throne. He was an intelligent, scholarly man, but his English subjects found him rough-hewn, paranoid, and slightly backward. Both he and the queen had extravagent spending habits and James largely ignored the nobility and parliament. His reign was beset with religious unrest, leading to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, and the Puritans leaving for America in 1620. A staunch Scottish protestant, James believed that the Bible should be readily available to the masses, and in 1611 commissioned a new authorized translation and printing, now known as the King James Version. Though James came to the English throne at the height of monarchical power, he never fully grasped the scope of that power. He was not a wholly unsuccessful ruler, but his Scottish background never translated well into English society. The king died of a stroke at Westminster Abbey at the age of 59. He was referred to by one writer as "the very wisest fool in Christendom."
Bio by: Kristen Conrad