King James from the Stuart dynasty died on this day in 1625, as a ruler of two thrones – the Scottish and the English. James was the first Scottish king who ever ruled over England. The English call him James I and the Scots James VI (because they had five kings of the same name before him). He became the Scottish king when he was only 13 months old, but ascended to the English throne at the age of 37.
How did a Scot come to rule over England? The fact is that the Tudor dynasty, which previously ruled England, died out. The last of that dynasty was the famed Queen Elizabeth I, who never married and died without descendants. James then inherited the throne from her because he was her closest living relative in the line of succession (Elizabeth’s aunt Margaret was James’s great-grandmother).
His ascent to the English throne in 1603 united Scotland and England in a personal union, i.e. they now had a common ruler. Interestingly, this situation has persisted until today. Specifically, the present Queen Elizabeth II holds both the Scottish and the English crowns.
It is interesting that, after he took the throne of England, James moved his headquarters there. Thus a rather strange situation came to pass, where Scotland ruled over England, but was also ruled from England. In other words, the Scots drew the short end of the stick. Indeed, James advocated for England and Scotland to have only one parliament, which would be responsible for both countries.