Martyr King

Eikon Basilike (‘The Royal Portrait’) is the supposed spiritual autobiography of King Charles I of England. It was published days after the king’s beheading in 1649. The book was a huge success, despite being suppressed by Parliament due to its pro-royalist themes in the aftermath of the English Civil War.

This illustration shows Charles as a holy martyr, reaching for Christ’s crown of thorns. Parliament subsequently commissioned the poet John Milton to write a retort entitled Eikonoklastes (‘The Icon-Breaker’), which still failed to sway public opinion.


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