What sparked the Civil War?

Was it religious turmoil? Financial meltdown? Or Charles I's seemingly unique ability to alienate his subjects? Jonathan Healey reveals what really propelled king and parliament into conflict in the 1640s

The battle of Marston Moor, the largest clash of the Civil War, depicted in a 19th-century painting. Preventing a slide into chaos required "diplomatic panache, not Charles's fabled stubbornness", writes Jonathan Healey. (Photo by A 16th-century portrait of Bess of Hardwick. Bess's talent, ambition and eye for a well-connected husband elevated her to dizzying levels of wealth and power in Tudor England. (Photo by Bridgeman Art Library)

This article was first published in the August 2018 edition of BBC History Magazine

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