James VI of Scotland


James VI of Scotland was the son of Mary Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley. When Mary was taken prisoner and forced to give up the throne, James was pronounced King of Scotland. The year was 1567. He was just one year old.

Like his mother and his grandfather before, James VI was too young to rule. A number of Regents (substitute rulers) were appointed for him until 1576 when he was 10. Then he became the boy king, but he was still that - a boy.

For years, the noblemen around him influenced his thinking. They made sure he was brought up in the Protestant religion. They tried to make him understand that his mother and her Catholic religion were wrong for Scotland and that was why she was a prisoner in England. In 1581, James took over the ruling of Scotland for himself. He was 15.

At that time in Scotland, Protestants and Roman Catholics were still divided.

James decided to contact Queen Elizabeth I of England and began to make friends with her. He knew that she had no children and that in time he would inherit the thrones of both England and Scotland. When Elizabeth had his mother executed, James was hardly bothered. He wrote a note of protest but he didn't know his mother and had come to disapprove of her religion.

In 1589, James married Anne of Denmark. The Protestants in Scotland approved.

In 1603, Queen Elizabeth I died. She had never married and had no children to follow her. It fell to James to go south to take over the throne of England - something he had been patiently waiting for. This is why King James has two titles. He was James the VI because he was the sixth king called James in Scotland. He was also James I because he was the first King called James, in England.

So 1603 is the date that many cubs and brownies today recognise as the 'Union of the Crowns'. This was when Scotland and England came to have one ruler. James VI and I is well-known because he was the first King of both countries.

James VI and I was his own man. He believed that God gave him the right to rule and he insisted that the King should have power over the Church. He was very interested in religion as well as politics and arranged for a new translation of the Bible. This became known as the King James Version. James also tried to force the Scots to accept the service and rituals of the Church of England but the Scottish people didn't agree with this.

James died in 1625 and was succeeded by his son Charles I.


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